Lenny, thanks for sharing. I think the "take away" point here is...not to assume that all of your friends will immediately disown you. In fact, many may see things from a new point of view. That was a lot work, thanks again!
Responses to Our Letters
Hi Lenny, I pmd you.
Poor Betty, so simple. Hopefully she's genuinely happy with it though, in which case, no damage done. Carol's a tough nut too.
Hooray for Bill and Stella! Keep them for sure!!
Now Maggie I can really feel for. Barely active herself, allows herself a very broad interpretation of what it means to be a JW, and yet still extremely defensive. I'm going to address this directly to you Maggie, as it seems you'll come back here to read it... just hang in there okay? Life gets better. But as you have a healthy open mind, it's time to start being true to it. Are you happy imagining yourself in your casket, having spent your life pretending to believe in an organisation you're apparently not 100% confident in? A similar image is one of the many things that drove me out of the organisation; I was simply terrified that the only thing I'd do in my life was be a JW. I've found infinite 'what else is there' options, and each one I've tried so far has worked better. It's fantastic, I can't even begin to describe how great life is post-JW. The only negative things left in my life are the horrible things my JW family and friends do. One day I'll be able to let that go too.
Thanks for sharing those Lenny
Amazing letters and excellent replies. It sounds like you have some nice friends. I guess the ones that replied would represent the more open minded of the ones you wrote to. There seem to be a lot of people to hang on to the JW organization for want of not know what better to do, realizing it is not really the truth.
Nicely done, Lenny! My wife's attitude is like Margie's, unfortunately. Maybe someday she'll see.
Jenny, I love the way you are able to express yourself. I couldn't answer with the insight you have of the way the WT society acts toward it's slaves. Keep up the enlightenment of those slaves.
I was unable to read all the emails and letters you posted, due to time constraints today. However, I was honestly surprized at the number of warm and loving replies I was seeing there. Suffce it to say that Wifey and I have not had such success in the matter. We have been cut off in every case, some silently just disapearing, others refusing to answer at all or doing so in a negative and hateful way. Of course, we were not 'prominent' in the congregations we were part of, and that may have influenced the lack of respect we have had upon leaving and kindly efforting to explain it to some.
I am glad for the positive responses you saw. Make those return visits and get 'em out of BTG if you can. BTW, Wifey and I were immersed in about the same time frame as you were. Seems so many of us stuck about for a long time before letting in the light of reality.
Blondie:I hope one day before I pass off the scene of this life I get a chance to meet you. Maybe at the Vegasfest!
Candidly Nuts:Thanks for your comments and we all certainly wish you the best with your kids.
Monkeyshine: I think what you’re dealing with here is the cognitive dissonance. Yes, their reaction to such radical information is not rational, but if they reacted rationally, they would be faced with a major conflict that they know, subconsciously, they have no hope of resolving. As to "Where else to go", JWs feel like to leave would be to step out into what I like to call "The Nothingness". Nothing is more unthinkable to them. It’s like a psychological suicide. These mind traps are extremely effective in keeping them in line. What’s amazing to me is that of all the responses we got, not a single one dealt in any meaningful way with the UN issue, which was at the core of my letter. As far as they're concerned, it’s a non-issue, and so they don’t have to explain it to anybody.
Aude:As always, your comments are thoughtful and much appreciated. And Karen and I really do mean to have lunch with you!
Gwyneth and Bebu:Thanks for your time in reading this long post, and your kind words.
BizzyBee:I don’t know if I can take any of the credit for eliciting responses. I guess the credit should go to the responders themselves. But it was certainly my goal. To at least get them talking. Kind of like door-to-door, huh?
Dear Crumpet:I would so like to be with you and the others at the Apostacurry! I’m sorry for the sadness you still have within. Your comments certainly touched me. Do you know Jackson Browne’s song, "Before the Deluge"? I love the line, "In their hearts, they turned to each other’s hearts for refuge." I feel that way about so many here. May your pillow always be dry and lightly scented.
Sspo:I will definitely update everyone, not WHEN, but IF the elders decide to do battle.
BlackPearl:I totally agree. There were others that we definitely expected to hear from and of course, the silence is deafening. Just a note to say, "I read your letter and don’t agree with your position." Would at least be an acknowledgement. Never underestimate the power of the Borg/Matrix.
Sassmyfrass:(Thanks for your assistance earlier.) I think it was good to address "Maggie" directly. She may well come here and see her words. I certainly don’t know what her reaction would be, but I think it’s nice that you spoke to her thoughtfully and respectfully. If she reads your words, I hope she dwells on them.
Fullofdoubtnow:Your always welcome, and thanks for taking the time.
Jwfacts:Thanks for your reflections. I think it’s a combination of some degree of open-mindedness, as well as a reflection of how they feel about us. But there were a few others we were really surprised that they didn’t even acknowledge receipt. One of my closest friends for over 20 years, returned his unopened, marked "Refused".
AuldSoul:It took my wife over four years after I stopped going. If it’s been at least that long for you, then there’s probably nothing I could tell you that you don’t already know. Baby steps.
Undecided (Ken):I’m sure you could answer just fine. But I’ve found it’s been a long process for me to finally get my mind around what really happened to me. And how much was lost.
AK-Jeff:Sorry for the bad reactions of those who were thought to be real friends. We have certainly experienced a few episodes of shunning, and it is ugly, to be sure. Yes, your loss may be the same (or more) in time as ours. I could really forgive the WT for a lot if they could just give me 30 years of my life back. But for all of us, they took something irreplaceable, and left us by the side of the road. May their karma come swiftly.
Love and Peace to you all,
Like others, I didnt' at first have time to read all the letters, but blessed with a bout of insomnia (uk time 4.10am!) I've just finished reading, and just feel sad. This sentence struck such a chord with me.
I don’t want to feel lost. That is not what I want in my life
I personally feel this is why many people say, when they misquote the 'to whom shall we go' what they mean is, what the hell am I going to do, or believe, or hope in? And it's something we've all had to come to accept in our own ways, whether it be an alternative religion or even atheism (I'm somewhere between the two)
I remember my frustration when I first found out about 607 and the UN and trying to explain them to my ex, and he just could not or would not see, because I think he had no idea what to do if it was true.
It can be a scary journey away from that belief system, suddenly we have to consider getting old, dying and all the things we blindly believed we wouldn't have to do. But I'd rather be scared any day than a sheep blindly following it's shepherd on the longest walk ever with no destination!
Thank you Lenny.
Wow! Lenny, I knew when I first read your letter that it was very powerful and would invoke powerful responses in your friends. Even the ones who chose not to respond, must have been given much food for thought. The friends who did respond to you, well, their love for you does shine through, which is probably a testament to what great people you and your wife are. Your replies are so honest and without bitterness, I can see why some still want to remain your friend. I will file your letter in my favorites and I hope you don't mind if I borrow some of your great points, if I ever need to write such a letter (hopefully not).
I think you were bang on with what you said about being afraid of the "nothingness". I too have come to doubt not only the society but the authenticity of the Bible (actually no doubt even left there). I wonder if there is a supreme being and think it is unknowable in this life time. The fear of "nothing" is the greatest fear to overcome and can keep most people in a state of cognitive dissonance forever. Facing that fear is incredibly freeing though, as I am finding out. Not for the faint of heart.
Anyway, keep us posted with your updates. Fascinating reading.