I was raised in the WT religion by a mom who had been introduced to it as a young child by a lady going door to door. Many of her relatives eventually joined. She finally did at the age of 33 or 34. Would have sooner but she couldn't stop smoking. Apparently she was worthy to go to the meetings, represent the org. out in service and be in the school, but not qualify to dedicate her life to the Father Son and Holy Spirit(back then they did not get baptised in the name of the WT organization-which I think is a very twisted change, myself.) I was subject to all the WT strictures-no birthdays, christmas, holidays etc. from the time I was a little bitty child. Last birthday/Christmas I remember celebrating was 6 years old. I was never baptised, but from the age of 11 I always got excellent marks in the quiz, was very active, rarely missing meetings, regular in field service. I had questions and doubts, but always felt very guilty to even dwell on them. It is very intellectually dampening to constantly berate oneself for reasonable questions and to be afraid that looking things up was disloyal. I had people in school who tried to tell me of Jesus Christ. I tried to tell them about Jehovah's organization and Jehovah's name. Which one was preaching the gospel as spoken of in the Bible? It wasn't me!
In 1980 or so, the article trying to refute the teachings of 1975 came out. At the time we had an elder who was chaperoning our weekly Sat. night youth WT study. He told us of all the tricks and scams he tried to do to take advantage of 1975. I had always liked this man, and to this day feel grateful that he was so forthcoming and honest about it. Ultimately, this rather intelligent Elder suffered financially from his actions, but he kind of laughed as HIS taking everything he was told 'so literally'. If an elder didn't know they were not making statements, how could a regular JW? It made me question 1975 more than I had in the past. I remembered it-I was 9 at the time. Evertime I saw a sign that 'violators would be prosecuted' I thought they meant persecuted and I was the most law abiding person you could see around no-trespassing signs and such! I remember malawi, hearing the stories of persecution, remember being told that we would soon experience such persecution ourselves (look up Malawi/Mexico in Crisis of Conscience-it made me quite ill!) I used to lay awake nights imagining these things. I had recently started learning about the holocaust, so you can imagine where my thoughts took me-literally thinking that was my near future as a young child. I was hoping to be put in the line to be shot so that I wouldn't have to be tortured. Nice thing for a kid to be imagining, huh?
My dad was never a JW, and I jumped from one frying pan into another-the LDS church when I was 15. I was used to restrictions on behavior, but I thought they were a lot nicer about it. I was raised to be clean morally and to be a decent person, and it seemed a safe harbor for my self-righteous little self. To this day, I would rather be stuck in that religious org. than the JWs, but I am not religious anymore at all. I have a great believe in God, but the Bible is an issue to me. And that is a harsh thing to say to a JW, but the God that created all this, cannot be the guy who said to kill people because they got in the way of the Israelites. My God did not order women raped and babies slain for 'his righteous purposes'. God did not make my sinful conscience cleaner than his own actions. Therefore, there is a lot of men writing the Bible. I do not doubt that some were inspired. I do not doubt there was a Jesus. But I think the WT organization is as good an example of corrupt man-made religion as you can find on this earth. I remember things they said in the early days about "Organized Religion". They now pat themselves on the back for being so darn organized.
My JW mom never got visits from the org. until they had a concern that SHE might need blood. When she needed their support while in a strange town with my father dying, she could not get a visit. I don't see love there. I see a bunch of self-serving beaurocrats, who serve the organization and try to make it look good. I see men who manipulate and lie to serve it. I see elders overstepping their bounds, while not shepherding the flock at all. (From Crosswalk.com)James 2:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." If you were to ask a JW what true religion is-not one would offer up that scripture. You know why? Cause they don't take care of widows and orphans! FIRST thing mentioned, and one thing I believe is a Godly teaching, and JWs ignore it, saying that it is the govt responsibility. NO it is theirs. They ignore it so badly that it stinks. In fact, they use the second part-being unpolluted by the world-to excuse their lack of doing anything for the larger community-all those things are 'futile' in the end times, you know! I think it is a sick and sad religion. At least Catholics, LDS, Baptists, Buddhists, etc have outreaches to the greater community. The WT won't even really take care of its own, and they justify it. Field service is no way to buy off your human responsibilities to one another. No way at all. Every JW knows how truly FUTILE that exercise is. Speaking to people who know you and care about you and like you is a lot more effective than scaring strangers at the door with a message that has nothing to do with the gospel.
I wish you well, and hope you escape. If you wonder where you can go-I'll tell you-most places would be an improvement for your heart and soul. Christ could be a good destination if you consider yourself a Christian. Be kind to others, don't be cruel in your leaving or to others if you stay. If you want to be in that religion, remember the Golden rule, and love your neighbors, even when they aren't JW. Don't judge them, care about them. It will get you kicked out of your religion, then you will have to question why you wanted to stay in a religion that precludes you from serving God the way that the Bible tells you to. I may not want much to do with doctrinal differences, but Christ was good, and his words are worth paying attention to. Read them. God bless you.