I'd love to see some real hard numbers but I'll bet the number leaving has steadily been going up for years might go up a bit one year or down one year but I'll bet it would be a fairly steady rise going faster and faster and faster!
What happened 5 or 6 years ago to get so many of us out of JW?
What Willoman pointed out is so true - the 1995 generation doctrine and 9/11 were TWO BIG things that really made me sit back and re-assess the WTS. However I looked at the 9/11 in reverse. While it galvanized people and brought people together, what impressed on me was the scene of the actual buildings falling to the ground. At that moment, I realized that these were scenes that we had been seeing in the Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Live Forever, and numerous other WTS publications. As J-dubs, we were wishing and hoping for a scene like that to happen, because surely it would indicate Armageddon was here. I had a sick feeling in my stomach, as I realized that for years we were wishing and hoping for God to euthanize the human race in exactly the same fashion that those buildings came tumbling down during 9/11. I got sick thinking that at one time, I would've loved to see that, but the reality of it happening before my eyes made me see how inhumane it was. I began to think deeply about my exit strategy from the org at that point.
Wide spread use of the internet and powerful search engines had come to reality just before that time on top of the Generation teaching IMHO
Our family left around 2000. After having had enough of being stabbed, poked, prodded and pushed around by watchtower ramrods.
Perhaps the year 2000 had a deep psychological significance as the JWs were saying that the end has to come before the start of the new millenium. After 1995 many dubs said: oh well let's wait until the year 2000 and if nothing happens we will leave.
For me it was approaching 50 and doing the review thing of your life called "midlife crisis"
My parents had both died and I had attended a seminar called Landmark which clearly showed me my life so far had been CHOICE, as was the rest of it. This was mind blowing info for me.
This information started to make inroads into my thinking while sitting at the meetings listening to the manipulation of scripture designed to enslave me to an organization.
I began to ask myself why was I first attracted to this religion? Why did I choose the husband I did? Why did I choose not to have children? Why did I have the unhappy life I was living? Was it all based on childhood fears and adult misconceptions of reality?
I started to doubt the choices I had made. I wanted to be alone to think. I wanted to miss some meetings to do this. I was not allowed to. I as an adult was not allowed to choose the kind of life I wanted. This led to arguments with the husbandly head. Those were bizarre days. I began to feel I was imprisoned in a religion and life I hated.
I took a job for the first time since my marriage. At the work place I met very interesting people with very interesting viewpoints, very free people! I was fascinated and amused and then attracted to these people.
They were free. They did not live in fear of Gods wrath. They loved God or not but forgave themselves freely for their errors. They were fun and laughter came easily with these people.
I wanted the freedom they enjoyed. I missed it. I remembered it from my pre-witness days.
But I was so wrapped up in the JW life. How could I ever change my life to one I could love?
Events happened one by one and I finally was free to live the life I wanted! And here I am before you a free woman with heart and mind and soul intact,now using her conscience and love to guide her through this wonderful world!
Thinking back... Was it the internet? Was it some change in doctrine? Was it because of the year 2000? Did we realize how many years have passed since 1914?
All of the above. I think they all fit together like a well fitted puzzle for me. The generation change in 1995 started my rusty wheels moving some. But it started to be clear a few past 2000 that it was seriously wrong somewhere. CoC and Isocf put the pieces together for me.
I just got tired of hearing the same old message of doom and gloom for non-witnesses.
I was slowing down since the mid 90's; the generation change did not hit me for a while, I felt that at least it was out in the open.
BUT I was gut shot by the way elders treated those close to me in the 90's. I found them to be uncaring, deceitful and vain. They were very dishonest in a lot of things that I was involved in; a major scandal in my hall resulted in three elders getting the boot, a drill sargent of a CO bringing in his own stooges from another state and me discovering that one of them is a chronic liar and had lied to me about a judicial matter involving someone close to me. When I challenged him on it, he appealed to the CO that had put him in the hall in the first place. My heart was not in it anymore.
By the time 2002 came around, I was hanging on by my fingernails. My nephew called me in shock about the Dateline program, and the lawsuit from Minnesota.
I told him to relax; I was sure it was rogue elders.
I went online to research it and that, as they say, was that.
First, the anger over the sex abuse coverup.
Then the UN.
Then the 1934 Yearbook.
Then alternative military service, and on and on it went. Like a house of cards it went.
And mind you, I can take some negative crap, I can see beyond some things.
BUT. Contrast the ridiculous doctrine changes and scandal against the **completely self righteous stand the elders take, and the leadership***...That was it for me.
I was done, and I knew I would NEVER again be a "strong" witness.
I attended as little as I could; I do not attend anymore except for memorial, out of a sense of not wanting to completely freak out my mother.
I am so thankful this forum exists; it saved my sanity many times.
I think we all woke up out of a sound sleep........................at the same time.