My mom niece no longer wants to be one of JWs

by shopaholic 16 Replies latest jw experiences

  • shopaholic

    My mom called and so did several other folks over the past week to tell me that my neice has announced that she no longer wants to be one of JWs and will not be returning to the Kingdom Hall. Supposedly she made this annoucement a several months ago and no one took her seriously till her mom (my ex-sister-in-law and a super pioneer of more than 20 years) just stopped attending meetings a few months ago. Anyway, since they both seemed to have stopped drinking the kool-aid, I get the conf-call from several family members. And what am I suppose to do? I'm suppose to rally the troops back to the KH, ready to do battle for Jehovah. Seriously, that's what they expect. During most of the phone conversation I sat in silence. They thought it was out of shock but it was really me being quite so as to not blow my cover.

    My niece is a junior is in college, got a great internship last summer and I think it really opened her eyes. Her mom got baptized just to be with my brother, since he met her as a "worldly girl". Her mom probably felt a load lift off her shoulders to hear her daughter say she was out of the religion, especially since they have no family from her side in it. Anyway, there were rumors as to why to my niece left the org. Is she gay? Is she pregnant? Did she sin and is afraid of getting DF'D? My sister told us that she called our niece and asked and our niece simply told her that none of those things are true and that she just no longer wants to be one of JWs and that she owes no one an explanation. At this point in the conversation, they are expecting me to chime in as a faithful witness would at this point to declare my disbelief and disgust. But I didn't say a word. Finally, they told me that I needed to call her and encourage her and then they asked what I thought of the situation.

    I almost took this opportunity to tell them that I no longer consider myself one of JWs either, so what's the big deal? But I think a few folks on the phone would have collapsed, literally. BTW, when someone from my family calls, they usually end up conferencing in all the other members of my family. So it really is a "they" or "them" on the phone. Part of the conversation went like this:

    Me: "I used to be one that would actively reach out to anyone I saw "drifting away", but lately I've really come to understand that adults have a right to make decisions for their being. So if an adult says they don't want to be a JW who am I to tell them they should."

    My sister: "Why wouldn't you encourage her? But don't you want her to get everlasting life?".

    Me: "Not if she doesn't want it." could hear a pin drop on carpet.

    Then one of my other sisters pipes up: "We need to have a spiritual intervention. I mean, what if she was hooked on drugs or alcohol? Wouldn't you do what you could to help her."

    Me (in a naive voice): "Oh she hooked on drugs and alcohol?"

    My sister: "No"

    Me: "Then that question is irrelevant. Look, we have no right to tell anyone how or when to serve God. When a person learns about him, they are responsible for their relationship with him, not us. The scripture in Deut (had to throw in a scripture to keep the cover plus I thought it was valid) comes to mind. You know the one that reminds us that God doesn't want anyone to be forced into serving him but that we really do have a choice...the blessing or the malediction. This girl was raised as a Witness and after 21 years of being on this earth has decided that it is not for her. She has made her choice. We just have to accept that."

    Again, complete silence. The interesting part is that no one seemed concerned for her personal happiness but only about her getting everlasting life and her mom not pioneering anymore.

    So I haven't called my neice yet because if I do I'll be like "Guess what? Auntie is out and been out for almost year." and then she will proceed to tell everyone and their mother and I'm not quite ready for that. I thought I was until her exodus slapped me back into reality. But I will call her soon to hear her story. But now I wonder how soon after this I should let my family know that I am no longer an active JW. They have absolutely NO idea that I've faded. Any thoughts?

    As always...thanks for listening/reading!!!

  • John Doe
    John Doe

    In my experience, life's a lot easier and meaningful if you throw your cards on the table and let things lay the way they want to. You've obviously taken the stance that the JW's do not have the truth, how is pretending to still believe backing your decision in any way? I can respect someone whom I don't agree with when they are straight with me about it--hiding what they think and skirting issues earns less respect, even if I agree with them.

  • Gopher

    Good for your niece and her mom, bucking the family pressure and making a dash for freedom!

    I enjoyed your conversation with the meddling females of the family. This part made me smile:

    Then one of my other sisters pipes up: "We need to have a spiritual intervention. I mean, what if she was hooked on drugs or alcohol? Wouldn't you do what you could to help her."
    Me (in a naive voice): "Oh she hooked on drugs and alcohol?"

    How soon you follow your niece's lead and make the announcement is based on how long you can take this guise of being a JW. There will be consequences socially to you when you announce your breakaway, so hopefully you have some friends and relatives lined up to support you. At that point, the sooner the better for all involved, IMHO.

  • oompa

    Shopaholic, I think you deserve an Oscar! You said just enough, even though you wanted to say more. As a fellow fader, we still believe family social function matters and has value. You may have started some to think some, nice touch reasoning using a scripture.

    silence may be first step to reason.....oompa

  • sass_my_frass

    Girl you handled that really well!! You know, if you don't want to tell your niece about your status just yet, at least call her and let her know that you're still there for her - she'd be feeling pretty bad right now and maybe even questioning her own judgment. It's really hard to do what she did.

    When you 'come out' you can talk about it and laugh about how you handled it. She'll understand.

  • MadTiger

    This is a great post.

    It strangely reminds me of my attitude in field service early on. I am a very helpful, empathic person by nature, and yet when people didn't want the hope of everlasting life, I was like, fine. I didn't care as much as other aux and reg pioneers did about how many studies I had, etc. If they didn't want the stuff I was "selling," and they were grown-ass adults, then, uh, "forget 'em."

    When I realized the modus operandi included not leaving people alone that easy, I guess that was the first sign of trouble. Nothing truly righteous and good needs to be forced.

  • unique1

    Congratulations. Perhaps you could call them and let them know you do not judge them and that you still love them and will be there anytime you need them. That way they know you are not shunning them without tipping your hand.

  • shopaholic

    Thanks for the great suggestions. I'll call them this weekend and try not to sound all JW-like. Since I know everyone else has been trying to win them back in the fold, I hope they pick up the phone when I call. But I will call and let them know that I love them if their JW or not.

  • shopaholic

    John Doe,

    You make it sound so easy to just come out and say "Look, this whole JW-thing, yeah, it's all made up. Really. Go ask the men behind the curtain". One day, I'll get to that point, but I really do enjoy my family. Although they are kind of liberal, they will come out of bag on you and get super righteous but you never really know when. So I'm still trying to figure things please be patient with me. Its going to happen...soon..because I can't keep this charade up for much longer.

  • bigdreaux

    shopacholic, if you are ready to leave, this may be the perfect time. if your family is looking at you as some kind of pillar, you may be able to help them. they know you are moral, not addicted to drugs, not looking to be a wild college kid, etc. if you choose your words correctly, you may open a few eyes. maybe, you can talk to your niece and sister-in-law and form a sort of battle plan. do you trust them?

    i would talk to the niece, then, when you talk to the rest of the family, raise your own objections, and make it like they are hers. maybe, if you tell her your side, explain what's going on, and tell her your objections, she will go along with it. then, you can tell the family, this is what she's saying, and she's making sense, get them to research it, and act surprised by the results.

    i didn't explain myself very well, here's an example: after talking to your niece, and getting permission, have a conversation like this:

    you: i talked to the niece, she has some valid points. if we are going to get her back, maybe we should research it, to show her she is wrong.

    family: well, what is she saying?

    you: well,..........

    after this point, go into any of your ideas, and get your family to research it, they may start thinking. after the "research" is done, so, whoa, wait a minute, she may be right about this!!!! and act all surprised.

    just a thought.

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