I've been reflecting on my Jehovah's Witness life because of the funeral and meeting with old "friends" all this week.
Being part of a group where you are accepted is often strengthening. It gives you a sense of belonging and personal value. It gives you confidence, too.
Being part of a group that has a (so-called) educational or humanitarian philosophy imbues a sense of self-worth that bolsters self-image.
Being part of a group that is superior to every other group and has absolute Truth is enough to make you drunk with a sense of destiny and power and elite confidence.
Joining up, as I did, while still a teenager; many of the pitfalls of adolescence are avoided. In my case, I got training I needed in how to be a more social person.
1.I learned to meet strangers without fearing them. I shook hands and presented information confidently. I gave hour talks before audiences and acquired the ability to organize my thoughts impromtu.
2. I learned to work within constraints. Policy dictates, goals, rules, and interpersonal relationships became an awareness of how to operate.
3.I became an organizational entity and discovered how to submerge my own identity in a "greater" cause.
These can be positive credentials. Many teens in the 60's didn't learn to navigate within society. I count all this as a plus.
However, I can now see with the hindsight of time passing, I had a counter-balancing deficit to cope with as well.
When you are growing up and coming into your own you are also laying a foundation on which you will build your entire life.
If you choose the right friends, profession and acquire the right education you have a pretty fair shot at a long and prosperous life with the support of those of love you.
If you choose the wrong friends who will disown you and acquire a fantasy knowledge base totally disconnected with reality--you will suffer the consequences of not fitting into the real world, the practical world. At the end of your life you'll not have long history of true friendship and companions to share memories with.
I allowed myself to be cheated! I was hijacked from my future!
I bought swampland and tried to build a future on top of it. It sunk without a bubble of return on my investment of faith, belief and hard work.
The old "friends" at the funeral bought the same swamp land I originally did. They still own the deed! I threw mine in the trash as worthless and started all over again.
They cannot face their error. Inside their own heart and mind, each one is intelligent enough to know (or at least, strongly suspect) they own worthless promises. But, they don't have the time or the fortitude to start all over and declare a stop loss!
The investment is a dead loss if they quit now. They cling to a market turn which might help them get back into the "pay" column.
I, on the other hand, have moved on. I don't trail a chain and shackles like they do. I'm free. All they have is their miserable selves as they rot from within!
Day by day the average faithful JW watches the religion they cling to change brick by brick into something different and alien to what they fell in love with and embraced as total absolute Truth.
Each True policy becomes "old light" and the foolishness of their faithfulness is brought to light.
HOW GLAD I AM not to still be a part of this swamp of worthless muck!
How many days of their precious life have been spent sitting on an uncomfortable folding chair listening to the drone of stale scripture recitations? GAWD!!! I'd rather have water-boarding than the slow drowning of the Kingdom hall!!!