Hi! I just signed up here, so I guess I should let everyone know a few things about myself.
My maternal grandfather was an elder in a congregation here, and he and my grandmother raised my mother quite strictly as a Jehovah's Witness. My father's father was also a Jehovah's Witness, though much less devout. When my parents were in their mid-20's they more or less disassociated themselves from the flock. I spent a lot of time with my mother's parents as a child, so I got much the same indoctrination my she did, although my grandparents had chilled out a little in their old age. I attended some of the meetings at the Kingdom Hall regularly and went out in service with them until I was about 14. I think the last meeting I went to was the Passover. I was never baptized as a JW, and was fortunate enough to stay at home with my DA'd parents a good amount of the time, so I was not as brainwashed as most 3rd generation JW's are.
Although my parents did not attend the Kingdom Hall regularly throughout most of their adult lives, they never really adopted any other customs, like celebrating Christmas or birthdays--I still had to go home from school early on Christmas party and Valentine's party days. It was kind of like being in a religious limbo. The whole experience has pretty much made me into an atheist. But I've dealt with most of that.
At least I thought I had. I'm 31 years old now, and recently, after a long battle with cancer, my mother passed on. Many of the Jehovah's Witnesses she knew as a child attended the memorial service, I think more for my grandmother than for my "worldly" mother. They were quietly disturbed that instead of letting an elder perform the eulogy we used a Baptist minister (HORRORS!!!), however it was her wish that under no circumstances were we to allow yet another boring JW meeting at her funeral.
My entire extended family are still Jehovah's Witnesses, and until that day, for obvious reasons, I had not seen most of them in a very long time. I got many offers to rejoin the fold, which I politely ignored. It really made me angry, but more than anything I feel sorry for them; I know they are doing what they think is right. It took me years to totally realize how much they had reprogrammed my mind, even with the relatively limited association I had. As a child I was always ashamed of being a JW, but I thought it was the "truth". Crazy way to redefine the word, huh? It's stirred up a lot of old feelings, and has made me seek out places like this website, which seems to be the only one I've found that is really buzzing with recent activity.
Anyway, enough about me. I hope to make some friends here. I would be interested in meeting up with some DF'd or DA'd JW's and sharing experiences and feelings; I think it could do me, and hopefully them, a lot of good. Here's to you all! :)