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." OMG...you 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 no...is 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!!!