She responded to a message I sent her, actually asking for me to tell her why she was wrong in assuming I 'had left Jehovah'.
I have never had a close relationship with this person, I have nothing to loose. I don't really care what she thinks, although I would love to see her treat my comments in a fair way - for her own sake. But I doubt it - been there, done that!
This is what I said:
Well, I respect that you at least responded kindly.
It is untrue that I left God when I left Jehovah's Witnesses. Of course Jehovah's Witnesses correlate 'leaving Jehovah' with leaving their religion, since they are unable to separate the two in their minds.
Regarding my 'friends' of 20 years, actually I was part of your religion for most of my first 48 years of life. Well, they were not actually my friends were they? They avoid me, refuse to speak to me, perhaps as you state, tear up due to my absence. But not a single one of them has shown enough Christlike love to show up at my home, ask me why I left, or do anything to 'encourage' me back. None!
I will say this alone. I did not leave 'stupidly'. I did not turn my back on God, though my view of that relationship is completely altered now from what it was at the time I left. I spent 3 solid years, locked in my study, deeply investigating both the religious organization and Christianity in general. I cried buckets of tears. What I found was both appalling and confusing initially. Once I was able to separate the fictional 'truth' from the reality it seriously had become, I left. I wrote letters to a couple dozen people in the congregation, saying my goodbye in effect, since I knew they would not ever speak to me again. Like Mrs AK Jeff, I remained a Jw in name only for a while, until the elders decided that I was evil, with a capital E, though once again not a one of them ever spoke to me personally to inquire my opinions or ideas. Not once. They sent me an impersonal letter suggesting my 'sin' of apostasy, and setting a date for my trial. Rather than submit to a kangaroo court within a religion that I knew by this point was no better than any other religion out there, and in some ways, vastly more culpable before God and men for the duplicity in which they engaged, I simply disassociated myself from the religion. Had I been told at the moment of my baptism, that should I someday be able to prove that the religion was not indeed the 'truth' and that if I dared walk away I would be ostracized as if I had the Devil on my shoulder, I might have made a different choice. But of course, no one is told when joining the religion that he can never leave with dignity. In my case, I had already been gone for three years, had absolutely zero contact with any Jw's, was no threat to any of them, spiritually or otherwise, when they came after me for a pound of flesh.
Regarding your uncle, I love him dearly. I believe that he gets as close to honest respect for my position as anyone in your religion. But, even he has made no effort to really understand, though he has seen my documentation, research.
I mean, really. How could all these people have known me all my life, saw that I was more Jw than most of them ever were, committed, studious, dedicated. I have never committed fornication, I was exemplary in all aspects of witness tradition and ritual. I gave up higher education, several high paying jobs, in order to live that lifestyle and do what I thought was 'pleasing to Jehovah'. How could they believe that I just quit without any good reason?
Well enough of that. I have nothing to prove here. If you want a summary of why I left, you can read my DA letter online. It is a shortened version of the 50 page version that I started with. It was written before I left, so it was the writings of a current Jw - so no witness should fear reading it.
Again - thank you for your kindness in response to my initial anger. I just get quite tired of having Jws act as judge, jury and executioner without giving me opportunity to tell my side.
These days, post-therapy, I live a normal lifestyle. I do not have 666 tatooed upon my hand or my ass. I am raising grandchildren that were spurned by the congregation as if they were Rosemary's Baby when we brought them to the hall as infants. They will be wonderful adults. And they will never be subjected to the unkindness that has followed me for my adult decision to leave an unhealthy religion.