So you joined the FREAK SHOW eh? That is what it feels like for me....Funny, for sure we were in one, but once you are out, you feel like a FREAK especially around really good old friends and family.....It somehow helps me to be around df/d people and faders....and also to be here at JWD....I think time is the only answer............oompa
I was not prepared for the other side
You know Parakeet makes a good point, I never realized it but most of the few JW's I still talk to stopped trying to convince me of anything as soon as they found out I did not believe in the bible and didn't care to define a belief or disbelief in a god figure. They didn't seem to know what to say to that. They are trained to use the bible to make their points, but I discredited their bible and they came up empty. Of course that only works if you are in fact atheist or agnostic.
On the flip side, when I first left I went to a non-denominational church. The membership was mostly college students, and very progressive. (at one point the pastor actually said something like "80% of what I tell you is true. The hard part is that nobody knows which 80%. That is for you to contemplate and decide through your own connection to god and study of his word" or something. It was very liberating to hear after all those years being told what to believe.)
Church wasn't for me, but it did feel really good to be there the few times I went. If you are out, but still find you have a God belief- it might be worth going somewhere as a way to establish connections outside of the organization. Just do your research first so that you can be in a place that allows you the space to form your own opinions and doesn't shove more dogma down your throat. A UU church might be a good place to start.
It is impossible to just do the bare minimum with that religion. Do that, and Brother Hounder will keep pestering you to do ever more, and you will be right back in the middle of it all. Not that you will fit in. You will just do the work and make the sacrifices.
What you have to do is walk out and never go back. There is nothing worth staying in for. You might try going to church, if for no other reason than to give you a social network to replace the one you are going to lose. Or, find a social club or some group to integrate with society without the Watchtower Society getting in the way. You have no need for a group of people that are going to continually impose their own standards and cut you off if you have the slightest disagreement with doctrine or you do not follow every single one of their rules.
Once you are out, you will be free. You now have the right to research different religions using independent sources (and I recommend doing that before joining). You can join clubs or go to college without someone telling you what to do there or not to stay in. (College is often a good move.) You can now celebrate the holidays and birthdays without someone telling you how bad they are, and even listen to whatever type of music or watch whatever type of movies you want without having Brother Hounder telling you that it is all bad. And, not having to worry about going out in field circus will set you free.
Few are the stories I care to bring to mind from the Bible but one feels like it is all about an ex JW.
He was distraught and thrown on the other side, unable to help himself, for not keeping up with them!
Modern translation of the Good Samaritan!
It does feel like there isnt one and you're hoping he or she'll come along and restore your faith in humanity!
All you can do is crawl till you lay there bleeding in the sun!
Thank you all for your comments. I know why I feel guilty: because I have been programmed to feel this way. I think it begins with deprogramming the ingrained mantra of their teachings.
Its something - I am now 41 and divorced from my ex JW wife. 20 years ago I was a Ministerial Servant on the fast track to being one of those young and energetic elders. It seems like yesterday. I never really believed much of it, just did it because all my friends did it. Once I left home and started thinking for myself, I knew this day would eventually come.