welcome faundy, glad you are here.
Please allow me comment on what you said and some of the replies. I must say as a matter of disclosure about myself as you are new: I am still technically an active JW, but rarely attend meetings and no longer go in the ministry anymore. (check some of my past posts). I am a lot more liberal in my thinking than the average JW, even when I was still an elder. My thoughts these days would get me D/Fd in about 2 seconds. (that and being on this discussion forum...heh heh)
I checked your profile and the course you have chosen is definitely not approved by the WT (aka, "the Borg" as we say on the board). Who cares what a man-made religion thinks?! You must choose whatever your hearts desire is. As long as you are an adult and accept the good and bad in any choice you make (lifestyle, religion, or otherwise), then do as you please. I, for one, do not judge your lifestyle one way or the other. Your way is not my way, but it does not make mine better or worse, just different. Thank goodness we are not a homogenized bunch of humans. The fun is in exploring andn discussing those differences.
There is a nice sense of freedom not rushing around trying to get to all the meetings and ministry and everything associated with that. My dry cleaner bill has dropped down to 0 since stepping aside as an elder and missing so many meetings. Now just an occasional cleaning is needed. I laughed at your reference to "dowdy skirts". Nowadays, I live, play, and work in nice plain t-shirts and blue jeans and walking (tennis) shoes (except for the occasional meeting and my once a week office job).
Interesting your comments about wondering about your faith. I appreciate OUTLAW's post:
If you want to check out some Christian Church`s,do it..There`s nothing stopping you now..You may meet some very nice people..
Really, "going to church" is really about two things to most people, First, and foremost, it is a social activity, a chance to be around other people. Second, it is about faith, values, beliefs that we hold in common. Some may disagree about first and second, but that's not the main point. "Church" brings those people with similar values together. Please understand, if you don't already do, that faith and values are two separate things. You can have one without the other. Values without faith is called morals, common across the human spectrum. Religious faith without values is called hypocrisy. All faiths have a value code, yet how many people do you know that go to church (JW or otherwise) that don't live their alleged faith/value system outside of the KH/church/synagogue/temple? Better to have Values without Faith, in my opinion.
Personally, if (and likely when) I leave the JW faith completely, whether voluntarily by DA or involuntarily by DF, I will not attach myself to another religion or belief system once that happens. I will still have my values, some of which initially have been shaped by being raised a JW. There are some good things in their professed moral code. I will take those good things and build on them. JWs do not corner the market on being "good people."
As for reading the Bible, I rarely do it anymore. I studied the NWT Reference Bible in depth. Yes, we appreciate the clear English text of the NWT. Do not confuse clear with precise. As others have mentioned, the NWT is slanted by the WTS to back up its doctrinal views, views which I am certain you have discovered are faulty at best. As Eclipse and others posted, feel free to explore other translations and versions of the Bible. I used to love comparing different texts and even used them in my Public Talks. (I got many compliments on doing that, although it seems speakers are discouraged from doing that these days...stick to the NWT they are told now). I don't blame you about not wanting to wade through all of the King's English (thees and thous). Personally, I don't put any more stock in the Bible in general than a self help book at the book store. I find it has a good moral code in some things, but is very judgmental in others. I dont feel like bobbing for apples in the sewer just because the apples themselves appear good.
As to your comments about a creator (note creator is not capitalized). I believe that there must be a "higher intelligence" on some dimension other than ours that created what we know in this dimension, the one we can observe. Was creation outright created by this entity, or was it started by the entity and then left to evolve over time? No real way to prove it...we weren;t there. Even archelogical finds are subject to interpretation, according to the bias of whomever is doing the reporting. Do I believe that entity to be God, something divine, something to be worshiped? NO. I respect that entity as a creator by showing respect to the creation....the planet I live on. I try to leave as small a footprint as I can on it for the generations that will come behind me. I believe the need to worship something bigger than ourselves is not imbred, but just something that humans thought up along the way to explain the unexplainable and to control others. Why else have an unprovable burning hell as part of your belief system?
Choosing Life made a good comment:
take your time and do some research. It takes quite a lot of time to get all of the jw mindset out of a person
CL was not raised in the Borg, yet CL still cant get it all out of their head. I, on the other hand, was raised in it. I seriously doubt that I will get out of my head in the 40-60 years of my remaining life here. You may not either, but you have more years to do so than I do. That's the nature of mind control.. and that is what you left when you left the WTS....mind control.
WAC's quote of Buddha is excellent....just use the common sense you surely must have. It will take time for it to come out from behind the JW mask, but it is there.
Finally, tula.....what a great idea...go hang out at Barnes & Noble..they encourage you to browse. I have hung out there for hours at a time and bought only a cup of coffee..or nothing...other times I buy the book I was reading because I want to finish it. B&N knows this and encourages in store reading. It really is a great way to unwind...especially on a Sunday.
A lot of those Christians think they are chosen also. They think they are going to fly out of here real soon.
LMAO at that Tula....don't have to guess what you think about it.
OK, I have rambled here enough. faundy, this board is a social network and therapy and a party all wrapped up in one. Glad you found your way here. Sometimes the party even spills out onto the sidewalk of the real world. You can make friends here.....