Well, it looks like the entire 'exchange' is over- so I think I will post the whole thing, minus my first message to her, which script I no longer have:
Her reply to my first message:
I'm surprised to hear from you like this. I don't know exactly what to say to that.
I'll ask this. Is it untrue? Your friends of over 20 years believe it to be so. My Uncle is one of them. There was such sadness in his eyes when he talked about it. You were such close friends.
So if it is untrue......what are you doing now that qualifies you as Jehovah's friend? Ask yourself why people that love you would think this way about you. We both know that Jehovah is never the one to leave us, but we stupidly draw away or turn our back on him. Jehovah is loving and patient. He waits for us to come to our senses and turn around.
Things have changed so much in the last few years. There is so much more love & encouragement throughout the congregations. We truly stand out from the world around us. I hope some day you come back. We miss you.
Then my reply, the same as posted in the start of the thread, but for continuity:
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.
Then a second message from me to address one paragraph in her message:Just want to comment on one other thing you said in your message to me. You said:
"Things have changed so much in the last few years. There is so much more love & encouragement throughout the congregations. We truly stand out from the world around us. I hope some day you and come back. We miss you." Of course this is the party line. It has been since 1960 when I first entered a Kingdom Hall. I have found 'the world around us' to be far kinder. Not a single 'worldly person' shuns me for my choice of religious opinions. Not a single 'worldly person' has to check with his religious leaders to see if I am 'good association', as you did after encountering my wife. Not a single 'worldy person' has to check his little black book to see if I am 'marked' or 'disfellowshipped' or 'weak' or 'missing meetings' or whatever, before deciding if this person is 'serving Jehovah' acceptably.
Of course none of this is pertinent if a religious organization is corrupt, offering up false doctrines and false prophecy is it? I have come across a few churches that would make Jehovah's Witnesses look horrible in the matter of 'love and encouragement' to use your words. Yet, they cannot prove themselves anymore the 'true servants of Jehovah' than can the church I left.
Sometime after reading this, A, you will go out preaching to people, telling them to 'examine their religion' to see if it would please God. Yet, you will likely not examine your own [except by using your own internal books and magazines, which is of course not really making an examination at all, is it?]. How do I know? I did the same ignorant thing for decades, thinking that I would be guilty of one of the Watchtower catch phrases, like 'independent thinking', 'running ahead of Jehovah's organization', 'not waiting on Jehovah'... on and on. Yet that runs in absolute opposition to what Paul said to the Boreans, doesn't it? Once I did that, I never went back.
The lack of love pointed me in the right direction. Once the blinders were off and I used the brain that God gave me, my decision, though the hardest one of my life, was clear.
Thats all I have to say. Peace to you and your family. Then her reply: Jeff,
I know now you will never be part of those I call my family. You think you see everything clearly and talk about my religion with seething disgust and resentment. I do have peace. A peace that through what i have read in your words appears to be missing from your life.
But you don't even know the cong anymore. Many things have changed, I see it first hand. We are a better people. Less judgement and more love and understanding. It is not the same as you once knew.
You speak of other churches that truly have brotherly love, that others you have met never discuss with others whether to decide if you are a good association.
With everything i just read the scripture at John 15:19 stands out. You are now the world, hating me.
I have been in the world that you so greatly admire. I left the cong. for many years. I lived in it, worked in it, made friends. But where did all my friends go after i lost my job? 1 or 2 e-mails or phone calls and they moved on with their lives. But for years after i was no longer attending meetings, I still got calls from people from the cong. Sometimes those that i didn't even know that well. Telling me about their life and asking about the kids or our house that we always seemed to be working on. If I ran into someone at the store, they weren't looking at me with judgement. They were just glad to see me and we enjoyed talking. I have not been led by the nose or blinded by brain washing. I returned because I know Jehovah's Witnesses are worshipping Jehovah how He wants us to worship Him. For many years I was not certain but now i am sure. I know it deep into my bones. The mistake so many people make is that they try to find a church or religion that fits how they want to live. There are over 25000 different religious denominations in the US alone. People are selfish, they want to serve God on their terms.
After much thought I truly feel towards you as in Matt. 7:13-15.
I know nothing i say will change anything and for that reason I ask that you please do not contact me. We will have to agree to disagree on this matter. Then my final reply - I don't follow orders to 'cease and desist' well. : Well, you wear the Jw hat well, my dear. I hope you are happy and content for a very long time. I tried to be kind in my comments, intelligent in my opinions. You can't get it - but I don't hate you - I pity you deeply.
Someday you will get a glimse outside the fog in which you reside. It might come sooner than you think - who knows? But it will never come if you refuse to take off the blinders that you so insist you are not wearing.
You are right - nothing you can say will change me. Should it? You have no truth - you just have a self-righteous religion that has manufactured it's own truth. I am sorry that you cannot see how well you fit your own discription of those who want to 'serve God on their own terms.' Too bad.
According to your 'loving' doctrine, you won't have to worry about me for long. Armageddon is 'just arround the corner' isn't it? That corner started in 1874. You won't live to see it. IT AINT REAL. And, as much as it would please you - you will not be stepping over my body and watching crows pluck out my eyeballs so that you and a few others get to 'inherit the earth' from us evil 'worldly' opposers. If that is what your 'God of love' 'deep in your bones' offers mankind - then enjoy.
Peace to you and yours -