advice please

by miller 13 Replies latest jw experiences

  • miller


    i am new here and will try to be brief. i am not a jw and never have been. actually i only just discovered what it really means to be a witness. i grew up thinking it all rather harmless door-knocking and not having christmas, (which seemed pretty grim to a kid in itself) now, however, i have begun a relationship with a jw, well, an 'inactive' (i think you say) witness. he is possibly the love of my life and i really want to help him through this, but sometimes i feel overwhelmed. his folks are really devoted followers of the 'truth' (his dad is a district overseer or something like that) and the fact my beloved is inactive kills them (though his sister ran away before ever getting baptised and now has finally developed a relationship with them again)

    (*please note he was already quite inactive several months before we met)

    anyway, once everyone knows about us, which is at this moment, really only a matter of weeks as we live somewhat close to his old kingdom hall, then he will likely be disfellowshipped and he says he is prepared for this and has chosen this path, but it terrifies me the great losses he will sustain and also that i know, though he is questioning his faith, he is still carrying a lot of the watchtower teachings in his head. he says "i will never be like you, never really be free" and sometimes i see him close up like a clam when i am discussing something questionable..(i am a philosophy major at university and agnostic and love a good natter about all things inexplicable, but with him, it can be touchy) i am afraid i don't quite know how deep the rabbit-hole goes with his faith. i know he has told me that he believes it is possible it was all untrue, but then he will often feel compelled to defend it.

    what i suppose i am asking is, is it possible he can be freer? and what is the best way to gently help him out of the clutches of guilt and the terror of 'dying at armageddon' and show him where jw's have made mistakes etc in the past? have any of you come through this hard hurdle and what helped you along? is it best to try to show his the errors of the jw organisation or simply gently lead him further into the real world and let him make his own judgements?

    if you ask him, he will say he is NOT a witness, but i know that he is still a long way from being anything else...

    being a witness made him unhappy his whole life (he has been in a lot of trouble with the elders and once even had his dad stood down for a while...his mother never forgave him, for example) he has been hurt his whole life by the fact his parents loved the 'truth' before their own son and he never fit in with the other witnesses...he has been confused and lonely and fighting upstream all his life and i want to help him into a world that will accept him..

    anyone else's stories or advice would be so welcome and please, i know my understanding of what it really means to grow up a witness is limited, so feel free to help educate me.

    i really love this boy and he loves me (so much so he is turning the world as he knows it on its head) any advice would be really really appreciated.

    thanks, in advance, for your patience...i know it is a long and rather soppy story, but i really feel anxious!

  • Confession

    Hi, Miller, and welcome...

    Please know that just about every week someone enters this forum with a situation similar to yours. Please also know that many, many in your boyfriend's shoes DO in fact free themselves from this legalistic, authoritarian organization--as difficult as it may be for him to accept that now. This very forum is full of people from all over the world who've done just that.

    It's impossible for any of us to know for sure just what it will take for him to "wake up" from this Watchtower sleep. But a willingness to consider ALL of the available information on JWs is a good start. Examining the unbelievably faulty evidence they present that they represent God's sole channel of communication can be powerful. But sometimes it's just a realization that comes in time. In my case, this essay, "Does God Work Through an Organization," by Tom Cabeen, was tremendously helpful.

    My best to you!


  • sass_my_frass

    Hiya, yeah somebody in your situation signs on every week here, you can look up similar stories and their solutions in 'Best Of' and 'Relationships'

    The only thing I can really add to all that is that it was a great long series of events over many years, before I could openly look at what I'd been taught, and even now I get little cult flashbacks. They're so good at it, it's going to happen for years.

    Well I've been through what he's about to go through, and my sanity was saved by signing on here and reading for a few days. See if you can talk him into donig that. If you can't, you need to consider how much of your life you want to spend playing this game; stepping around his fragile touchy cult beliefs and pretending it's worth it.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    Hi Miller Welcome to the forum.

    is it possible he can be freer? and what is the best way to gently help him out of the clutches of guilt and the terror of 'dying at armageddon' and show him where jw's have made mistakes etc in the past?

    Yes, it is possible for him to be freer, but you will have to be careful how you go about it or you will put his defenses up and he won't discuss the subject with you.

    Don't try to tell him anything. Questions work better. Picking the right questions is the tricky bit.

    Stay away from dogma. Questioning the WT claim to be the 'sole channel of communication' should be the target as the dogma he believes hinges on that. Stick around. We have some experts here that may be able to help with this.

    I word of warning though. It would be inadvisable to enter into any sort of permanent relationship with him until he fully understands that the WT is not God's 'sole channel of communication'. As long as he believes that, he will be plagued by guilt.

    You should never put it to him that his relationship with you is conditional on his dumping his beliefs. This is emotional blackmail and he is already getting that from his family and 'friends'.

    I wish you good luck.

    Please stick around, read lots, and carefully weigh up any advice you receive before you put it into practice.

    Chris (of the born in, guilt ridden for years class)

  • dobbie

    Hi Miller do you know what i think the most important thing for your man is?Your support which he definately has.Sass ny frass has said what i was going to as well, try to get him to look at this site so he can see he's not alone, until i found it i really thought i was the only one having doubts.I am inactive and hubby too and for a couple of months now i have been suffering constant nausea from the worry of it all, wanting to leave the org but scared re armageddon and shunning etc, even my neighbour is a JW.The only things that help has been to regularly visit this site, reading the crisis of conscience book by R Franz (nearly finished) and the total support of my hubby who says i must do whatever i want to be happy.His family are jws and his mother and her hubby have as little to do with him as poss, the only reason he can't leave at present is because hes not ready to have them cut him out totally, which he is sure they'll do. Once you've been indoctrinated with all the rubbish its very hard to get it out of your head, i have to remind myself that i never thought i'd be good enough to get through armageddon anyway. I do know though what a great support it is to have ones that you can freely talk to about it and for them to listen to you, i'd have gone nuts by now with the worry of it all if it was'nt for my husband and this site. Good luck to you both.x

  • vitty


    cant you introduce him to this site......................he needs deprogramming or he may at sometime in the future decide to go back into the organization

    Countless ppl leave the truth but the truth dont leave them..............I know it isnt the truth, but only after a long time of reserching stuff on sites like this one.

  • dust

    I was in your situation a few years ago when I met my girl-friend (now my wife). I was terrified. But I told her about my fears, I was dead honest. I told her I was terrified that she would "take Christmas away" from me. I had never really _celebrated_ Christmas, it had only been a holyday, but now I started getting afraid, discovering what Christmas actually meant to me (I had to learn quite a bit about myself!). So I was honest to her, and she was honest to me. And we were able to talk and discover that we really wanted to be together, no matter which difficulties we would meet. We are two _very_ stubborn persons. ;)

    I had quite a few problems with the WT teachings, and I tried to "win" her by asking questions and reasoning. At first she couldn't stand it. First, she was not used to independent thinking! But also, this had to do with her entire life till then. She felt that I "trod on her life". This was her identity, even though she didn't consider herself a witness anymore. So once again I was dead honest and told her that I didn't know what to do, I needed her own advice. After thinking a bit she said that I could just continue asking her about things. It was hard on her, but she felt that she needed to learn how to think on her own.

    Of course, this is my girl-friend, not your boy-friend, and people are different. :) But honesty, even about fears, is probably one of the main pillars of every lasting relationship.

    For quite a long time (several years) it was difficult for my wife to talk about religious issues, and even when she had decided (on her own! very important!) that the WT teachings are false, she felt that in reality she did not love God. "Why do you think that you don't love God?" I asked. "Because I have disassociated myself." I told her that I know her, and that I feel that the loves God. She doesn't love him in the WT way, but if God exists, then he knows what I know: that she does not hate God, she has only left an organisation that she even felt did not represent God.

    Of course, as humans we will often experience such gaps between rationality ("I know that I don't feel the organisation represents God") and emotions ("I left the org, so I must have left God, cause the org says I did"). It is possible that support and love is the best cure in such situations, whether we're dealing with an ex-witness or a completely different situation.

    So love and humble honesty would be my prescription.

    I could also mention that when I first met her parents, they showed themself to be two extremely cute and loving persons. But they were of course also terrified because their daughter had met a worldly guy. So the very first evening they started evangelizing. It went so far that my girl-friend got ashamed of her parents... Note, the important thing here was not the topic of the discussion, but the fact that she loved me, and felt that her parents treated me poorly and with disrespect. (And let me add that despite all this trouble then and later, my parents-in-law are still two of the cutest and most loving persons that I have ever met. We can't visit them as often as we would like to, due to her being an ex-witness, but we love them, and know that they are the ones that suffer the most.)

    So all in all: Just be honest, ask him for advice, ask him how he feels. Love eachother through all problems that may arise in your relationship, and remember that as long as you have eachother, that is the most important thing.

  • monkeyshine

    In my opinion it is better not to quarrel with the family over the subject because it will not help. They will not listen to you guys and it will only validate (in their minds) the fact that you are wrong.

    It is hard and as you will see it will only get worse in the immediate future. If you two always play the good guy role, they can never use anything against you and maybe one day they'll ease up a bit.

    One thing to keep in mind is that their minds are washed with what they believe and it might seem evil but that is not always the case.

    They think it is god's will.

    Good luck and ask him to come here and browse because it is very comforting. I started coming on here a few days ago and haven't gotten off since. Good luck to you both.

  • miller

    thank you!! i am so in love with you all!!

    how nice and helpful you all supportive!

    i hope we can get him here soon. i am working on it, only trying to make it his discovery..i left my laptop open to this site the other day and let him browse alone without me saying anything...i don't want him to feel that i, like everyone else in his life, is trying to push him toward any one way of thinking, i want him to feel free to explore his own mind and this wonderfully diverse world..

    thanks for all your advice and comments..i feel so touched by you all and know that should he come here he will be supported and encouraged.

    honestly, i could not have asked for better claryfying advice...i will certainly be sticking around and especially bringing beloved here to grow...

    thanks again and please, keep the thoughts coming...i feel so much less afraid now. i know there is work to do, but if he can come here and hear you all (i have read other posts also and felt really moved by your support and community) he will feel less overwhelmed and alone!


  • smellsgood

    what i suppose i am asking is, is it possible he can be freer? and what is the best way to gently help him out of the clutches of guilt and the ;terror of 'dying at armageddon' and ;show him where jw's have made mistakes etc in the past?"

    Hi there Miller, welcome to the board

    The best way to go about this I believe, since he has just been inactive, and doesn't really know about the WT as a cult, would be to direct him to sites of OTHER cults, he will recognise hopefully the precise way they operate is the way the WT does. I would personally use a cult like the way international. Here is an ex-site that talks about the identifying marks of a cult etc.<<what is mind control, some good articles
    they are very zealous "markers" of "bad association" hmmm, so this is from
    giving some dialogue that happened with a "marked" member and Sam Coburn, a church leader
    Exactly like the WT::::::
    "Leaders of the cult believe themselves to act and speak for God. They see themselves in the capacity of Moses, leading the flock out of harms way. Failure to immediately heed a directive from leadership is considered lack of meekness--a sign of rebellion and danger to the integrity of the cult houshold. Sam makes accusations about Elmer to Julie, Elmer's girlfriend. Sam's purpose in doing this is to convince Julie that Elmer is evil, and at the same time, to reinforce his god-given authority and her need for the protection of the Household.
    and also exactly like the WT:
    "Sam is accusing Elmer of thinking for himself, contrary to leadership directives. Independent thought is defined as not controlling ones mind. L Craig Martindale requires all members of his group to be like-minded on all issues. To not respond immediately to any leadership directive is believed to be an indicator of unbelief.
    and as all the "cults of christianity" claim, first century Christianity restored.
    "Wierwille also promoted himself as "The Man of God" for our day, and he loved to be called "Doctor" and "The Teacher" (not just "a," but "The"). He encouraged his followers to think of him as the greatest spiritual leader since the Apostle Paul 2,000 years ago. Wierwille claimed God spoke audibly to him and promised to teach him the Word "as it has not been know since the first century."
    Of course this is not a very potent or vivacious cult.
    Use Mormons as an example. Or the Unification church. I think this is the best way to gently demonstrate the true nature of their respective religion to a cult member. Their mental guard is not up in a way it would be if you were to first go right after their beliefs. It's good to show them that there are ways people have been manipulated in other religions, and hopefully he will spot the blatant similarities.
    good luck


Share this