Billy, your post struck home.
I used to live at 168 Willow Street, and attended the Columbia Heights Congregation back when all new Bethelites home congo. Harley Miller, the WTBTS' hatchet man was Presiding Overseer and determined who among the 'new boys' was 'worthy' or 'unworthy'. (He was involved in orchestrating Ray Franz' trumped-up ouster, meticulously arranging for all those who could have born witness on his behalf to be cast out of the Organization (and unable to be 'heard' by their 'righteous' ears) before they called him in.) Harley's dead now but Franz' books "Crisis of Conscience" and "Search for Chrisitan Freedom" are still selling and he's outlived almost everyone who accused him.
Because at that time I was about the age of most young Bethelites (we're all old now) I socialized with several of them and got to hear what they really thought about life at Bethel. Coming from the West Coast and with a true-believer mother who thought living so near Bethel would be like being in 'Paradise', I got my first dose of reality from those fellows. Most of them were even more disillusioned by the truth of Bethel life than I was shocked. In those days they had to agree to 'serve' for four (4) years. (And paid $14.00 a MONTH and exactly enough subway tokens to get back and forth to their congregations on meeting nights for five and one-half day's work each week when street sweepers got $80 a week.) Those who wanted to leave (to get married because they "burned") were told they would be breaking a "vow" and Jehovah's Organization could not use such a man. Every man I heard talk about that, expressed anger and amazement because they had not made any such vow, and felt abused by that minipulation. Some left under a cloud of discrace knowing that their decision might be used as the victim of criticism while everyone's breakfast eggs waited.The ones who stayed in order to protect their reputations were a miserable lot--living a lie, giving up their own needs and desires to keep other's tongues from wagging. Poor guys!
Think about that as you try to 'fade'. I'm sure you're trying to keep your family and those you imagine are your friends able to talk to you. But ask yourself if you can't trust them to know you. You've got to ask yourself these questions:
Do you really know you someone if they won't or can't share what they think, feel, desire or believe?
If expressing ideas ideas they don't hold with would cause them to reject you as a family member or friend, do they really love you?
Is it a friend or a phoney that hides what's in their heart from those he/she cares about?
Would you keep these secrets from your child? Your spouse? Your parents? (OK, skip the parents. If they're anything like mine they'd feel proud to turn you over to the elders, as a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card to show the WTBT at Armageddon.)
I know from years of participating with another online ExJDub community that "fading" seems to be the best of both worlds. But usually it doens't work out they way they'd hoped. It's not so much that they'll catch up with you someday (there are a lot more of them and you, and eventually they'll get'cha) but that Fader is living a lie--and not enjoying life.
Hope all goes well for you, SeaSea