I was not raised as a Witness. I began to speak to a young woman at work, in 1971. She seemed so sincere, and my husband and I began to have Bible discussions with her. She talked about the bad things in the world, things that that indeed were depressing. The book that we used to study from, "The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life" even quoted a respected authority that wrote in 1960 that in fifteen years "The world would be too dangerous to live in." My, that meant 1975!! We discussed "the end of this system of things" from the Bible. I asked the Witness how much longer she thought this "world" could last. She said maybe two more years.(1975) Well, that was a wake-up call. I wanted to live, and to live in a beautiful paradise with people who truly worshipped God.
I was baptized in 1973, along with my husband. All went well, and we had friends in the organization. In fact, a Witness is highly discouraged from having friends among the "bad associates" outside of the organization. Even association with one's own family, if not Witnesses, must be kept to a minimum, lest they taint you with their "ungodly ways."
My husband was eventually given the position of elder in the congregation, and we were model examples. When time to clean the Kingdom Hall, we headed for the bathrooms to make them sparkle for Jehovah and his congregation.
When I had a child, I knew that she must be a model of decorum, an example to all. Even as an infant, I never put anything other than a dress on her to wear to meetings. She must never have a toy in the Kingdom Hall, or talk or squirm during the meeting. Bathroom trips were not allowed during talks. Supervision was mandatory as she grew.
Some things eventually began to make me wonder. Of course, after 1975 came and went, I wondered, but when one wonders while a Witness, one must wonder silently because to vocalize your questions would reveal a lack of faith in the organization on one's part. One thing I felt badly about was the Witness view that higher education was to be avoided because of the "worldly" associates you could meet, and also because it would take time from witnessing, and of course, would show a lack of faith in the organizations pronouncements that the "end" was imminent.
I did not make alot of money at my job, because I never completed college. My husband did not either. I did not want my child to always work at low paying service jobs, just scraping by. I did not want her to have to be dependent on a husband if she needed to support herself. I had decided that I would see to it that my child did get an education, even though the thought gave me extreme feelings of guilt from disobedient thinking. Witnesses are made to feel guilt continually. If you are not a full time minister, why not? If your circumstances do not allow you to do this, can you change your circumstances?
As a Witness, we were always taught that 1914 was the "beginning of the end" and some born before this year would not die before Armaggedon came to destroy all the wicked. This belief was changed, however, in 1994. Now I was really disturbed, but again, inwardly, not wanting to reveal my thinking for fear of sounding apostate. We were still model Witnesses. I just felt more guilt due to these nagging doubts.
The final straw came a couple of years ago. My child, at sixteen, did some foolish sixteen year old things. She had NEVER been in trouble before. Instead of helping her in any way, the elders in the congregation tried to force her to admit to fornication. When she would not "confess," because she did not do this, they called her a liar and made her read a scripture that says that God views liars as "filth" that will "burn in the lake of fire with the devil" meaning an everlasting destruction. She was disfellowshipped, now to be completely shunned by every person that had ever had meaning in her life. She had no other friends, because she was never allowed to cultivate friendships with "worldly people." Until what? That she admitted that she was a piece of filth not fit to live?
The poster that said that you could not possibly understand what it means to be a part of the organization associated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was right. You could not possibly feel the deep betrayal by those who claim to be the channel of God to his followers unless you hook line and sinker knew what it was like to view this organization as the mouthpiece of God, only to find out many things that they were involved in behind the scenes, such as their association with the United Nations Organization, which they said was from the devil.
I hope I have given you some insight from one who was not raised in this religion. Yes, it seemed like it had all the answers. Now it seems to lead to dissilusionment. I can identify with the person who said that after leaving, for two years it seems like you are the "walking dead." The guilt, the guilt.....That is an apt description.
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