Wow, ATJ, attacked by what, whom? Sounds like an interesting and exciting (in a bad way, of course) story.
Did you Exit the Witnesses Gradually - Or Exit Suddenly - Your Reasons ?
Well the realization it was less then the "truth" came quickly. Up until Nov.2000 I had no doubt or even desire to be anywhere else. But that month I was assigned a particular Public Talk that dealt with the year 1914. I was working at a local University and decided to research the year 607 looking for extra material. Well guess what? Thats right I found nothing in any secular text referencing 607 bce. Further I found mountains of evidence that the Temple was actually destroyed around 587/586 bce.
That led me to check other references and found more deception. by the beginning of 2001 I wanted out but couldn't leave due to family and the fact that 31 years of brainwashing leaves a toll on your Psyche. I continued to go and even serve in the congregation for the next year. I even tried to step down but the PO was insistent I stay on. Then a hard nosed CO came in and chopped me for because my wife averaged 8 and not the 10 hours he felt she should that was a great visit lol. We moved to the Spanish shortly after that and I hoped to just lead a quite life of denial you know to keep the peace with my family. That would not be possible.
I didn't stop going for a while due to the fact my wife still believed. I never told her the reason I was removed it would have killed her. But we had left a congregation with a major molestation problem and that was something my wife felt very strongly about. Well in August of 2004 that became a major issue as the father of one of the families in our hall had been molesting his daughter. I still can't talk about the details if you would like to read the story about the situation here is a link.
I had been lurking here before but fear of the org led me to not register and I stopped lurking. After this happen I did register when I did I found a friend who had been here a while who showed me all the stories that had been posted here about the kids. We loved those kids. At least the people here cared more about the children more then the org.
Me and my wife were the only member of the Congregation to attend we were both appalled that no one else had the guts to show up. I served as a pall bear because so few people were there. I can count on one hand how many times I attended any meeting after that. It hasn't' been great all the time but at least it's been honest. I have never told this story I tried to tell my story on here a few times but I would lose courage and sometimes I just feel much of my story is boring but tonight I just felt like sharing. It's still not fun to talk about but I have to do it sometime just to get it off my chest. I doubt anyone in the org care to much about me anymore and if they do oh well. I am happy to say my life has never been better but I do strugle with how to establish a nework of friend for my little girl but at least she will have a chance to make real friends and not friends who will only show up if she attends meetings.
I wanted to do a quick fade, but it wasn't possible with family begging and guilting me, and me wanting to scream the skin off their face. SO. We just stopped going one day, and never looked back. I will say that we tormented ourselves on our end to go or not to go, and felt bad for a long while, but from the outside looking in, we just up and left once and for all on day.
It was hurtful to my family, both sides, but I'm not living their life, I'm living mine. My kids are happy, and healthy, and loving. I don't need the meetings, and I miss exactly NO ONE. It's all good out here in the dark side. ;)
Wow, ATJ, attacked by what, whom? Sounds like an interesting and exciting (in a bad way, of course) story.
I was attacked twice in a 5 day span (Wednesday and Sunday) of 2005. The 2nd one on the first Sunday in December, nearly cost me my life.
Read up on it in my life story, under my topics started....
Anyway, it sort of sucks to look in a mirror and realize you are in Cameroon to promote a cult and placate a marriage that you don't believe in. It's rather stressful.
Anywhoo, I am over that... (ok, I am NOT over that, but I deal with it much better then I use to)
both for me. I was DF'd (unfairly I believed and I fought it to no avail). Looking back, it was a wake-up call. For a long while I still clung to the beliefs, thinking that even though I no longer wanted to be part of it, it still was the Truth. There was some apostates that used to put ads in the community newspaper. I was offended because I still believed that JWs were good people, if deluded.
Now, of course, I realize the people placing the ads were obviously trying to expiate their own pain and trying to recover.
So one day I just decided I would stop entirely. The big step was not attending the memorial. That was the turning point for me and my family because my brother and his wife decided they should force my children back into the religion and launched an attack on us. Not attending the memorial that year was traumatic for me for a number of reasons. I still felt extreme guilt and was terrified on some level that I was doing the wrong thing. But after the memorial passed I realized that I was still alive. Still okay. Still able to move forward. So I did.
Things just got better from then on. No - there were plenty of really bad times, lots of depression, lots of pain. But it was the turning point from which I will never look back. In spite of the horrific pain that was inflicted on my family when I was DFd, I'm now inclined to think it was a good thing. It enabled my escape.
Hi Mr. Flipper,
Basically I just walked away. Many here have read my history many times, my husband died, I couldn't stand the memories at the hall... blah, blah, blah.
I don't think the Elders knew what to do with me, so they left me alone. I do believe though, after a few months, if they had really tried to incourage me, I would have went back. They didn't, and after I really "Woke Up", it was too late.
I've had my "Freedom" now for 11 years...
I had doubts for two years, viewing all the hypocracy in the hall drove me to the edge.
But family ties and "friends" kept me hooked.
My Mom died in Sept of 08 and i was just morified by the complete lack of concern by my so-called friends.
A month later i wrote my DA letter and never looked back.
Not sure why I am writing this. It is painful. I haven't thought about the Watchtower in a long time.
I started reading the Bible when I was 9. My mom had one of those leather bound, large family Bibles that they used to sell door to door in Appalachia. My mom paid $50 for that Bible in 1956. Can you imagine?
I remember reading the story of the leper and Jesus. And the leper says "Lord, if you but want to you can make me clean." And Jesus with tears in his eyes reaches up and touches the man and replies "I WANT TO, be made clean".
I had a very rough childhood, and in Jesus I found a friend, a friend that my father could not take away from me. And in the Bible I found love, true love.
When I was 12 I started looking for God's people. The Bible told me that they follow The Way. I went to churches, joined the Campus Crusade for Christ for a while, but I never felt like I found the loving people that God's people must be. When I was 15 I went to the Memorial thanks to an invitation that was on our coffee table. My parents were opposed so I hitchhiked to the meeting. Of course the Witnesses made me feel like the long lost son returning home. Home.
I thought that I had found God and found His people and 3 months later I was baptized.
I never could handle the door to door preaching work, I always felt like I was hit in the stomach with a baseball bat when standing at the door. Funny, I shared God with everyone I met in my daily life but couldn't bring myself to preach at the doors.
I always felt like a failure because of my meager field service reports. Of course the elders made sure I felt that way. Funny, the congregation always knows who is not reporting an acceptable amount of "time". how do they know? Aren't field service reports supposed to be private?
I never would ask for money for the literature. I usually just took a Bible with me in the field service. Of course I was lectured for not asking for money and not using the magazines or the books. I asked more than once, "So, the Bible is not good enough?".
I always had this image in my mind, and this feeling in my heart that true Christians would experience a kind of love that was totally uninhibited.
Of course, the Watchtower society does not instill real love in its members, it instills conformity. It is easy to accept someone who is conforming to the rules. But be a bit different or have a field service report that is not up to standard and the cold wars will greet you.
I always felt guilty, not good enough, and I loved God so much and wanted to be a "strong" Christian so desperately.
I always felt like the poor relation in the congregations. I had no interest in being a ministerial servant or an elder. Of course, if you are a brother and are not "reaching out" for those positions you are viewed as spiritually "weak".
After I had been a Witness for 21 years, I got into a career that required lots of moves. I had been very poor most of my life and I got a job as a computer consultant. I had never worked in corporate America before and the constant moving and the corporate work environment put a strain on me that was difficult to deal with.
I couldn't handle feeling guilty any more and I stopped going to meetings. This shipwreck of faith bothered me a lot and I really do love God so I decided to do something to restore my faith. In my new career I learned what true scholarship is and learned how to study and research something as a scholar. So, I decided to study the Bible, really study it. And not just the Bible but other mytholody and history that sheds light on the Bible.
I also read everything that the Watchtower society had published that I could get my hands on. Strange, but my favorite Watchtower books were the Studies in the Scriptures. My cousin has a set, we used to read them as children.
My efforts to renew my faith actually had the opposite effect. I realized that the Watchtower Society is just a hierarchical power structure that keeps people in line using guilt but they do not have any spiritual guidance to give anyone. Sit down and read the bound volumes through over a few years sometime and you will see the same drivel repeated over and over again.
What made me leave? The lack of real love. The hierarchical power structure. The way guilt is used to ensure conformity. The total lack of any real spiritual guidance.
I also came to the realization that the Bible is not words from God. It is words of men. "Jehovah" is not God's name. "Jehovah" is a demon from ancient mythology. The "god" of the Old Testament is a genocidal maniac. The Yahwehists were unbelievably cruel, evil people. The Old Testament was written to justify the horrific deeds of these awful people, the Yahwehists.
I don't believe that the First Cause is the "god" described in the Bible. The Bible would have us believe that "god" is all knowing, all present, total love, all powerful... Yet, this "god" has allowed human and animal kind to suffer unbelievable evil. I am a sensitive person and when I see someone getting hurt or being mistreated or treated unjustly it bothers me, it bothers me greatly. I don't claim to be pure love as the Bible claims that God is in 1 John 4:8. If I, as a mere human, experience great pain when seeing others in pain, how would a "god" who is pure love be able to just sit by and do nothing? Since "god" is all knowing, all powerful, all seeing, all present, and pure love why is it that "god" allows suffering? Either "god" is powerless to stop suffering, or is indifferent and does not care, or is evil and enjoys it, or is mentally incompetent, or is so far removed from us and so different from us that we just don't matter, kind of like how we ignore the microscopic organisms all around us. Whatever the case is I do not believe that the "god" portrayed in the Bible is real.
This does not mean that I don't believe that there is an intelligence responsible for the Universe, Life, and Everything, I just think that whatever the First Cause is, we cannot understand it because it is beyond our universe. It is kind of like expecting a line to understand a cube. The line would only be able to see the cube as a line. Whatever the First Cause is, it is beyond our ability to understand it.
For a book written by men to claim to be able to describe the First Cause in detail I think is extraordinarily prideful (and delusional).
I kinda did both i think.
My withdrawing probably started about the time my son was born about 93. I became very depressed as i tried to continue living up to standards i was not meeting. It created in me such anxiety and stress. I beleived i was totally worthless. At the time i was serving 'where the need was great' as a ministerial servant and up to the birth ,been a regular pioneer. I continued to push on doing all the right moves.
By the time child number two came along i was even more mixed up. The fight inside me between the 'spiritual man and the fleshly man' was intensifying. I threw myself into more personal bible study, more prayer than ever. Can you believe, i even re-baptized myself in an effort to shed the flesh and have a new start! I'd get up at 5am and study study. That was always the answer. If you are struggling then it's because you are not doing enough. I did confess some stuff to an elder, but to be very honest, not much changed. I dont blame them, they probably didn't have the life skills to help anyway... other than say pray more, study more.
Not long later, over about a couple of months i guess, i started to drop reaponsbilities. I just couldnt face giving public talks anymore, next went ministry school assignments. I started to miss meetings. And finally stopped going altogether and stopped field service too.
My wife said i needed medication. "We were the couple most likely to", we arrived in great fanfare, regular pioneers that had been to pioneer school! A M/S wow! and i was making her look bad.
one day i read two books, one was pro meds and anti therapy and the other pro therapy and anti meds. I threw them at the wall in disgust, nobody had the answer. The worst point was where i fessed up a 'sin' to my wife and well, while not adultery or fornication it might have well have been. I was off to the spare room and the elders came over. I dont recall much at that point, i do not recall comfort though. They didn't seem to know how to deal with real stuff like feelings and confusion. And pain. I lasted two weeks in the spare room and found a init to move into.
I needed space to sort myself out. I nearly literally disapeared. I mean drive far far away and never be heard of again. I felt so worthless. I was convinced i had become a wicked servant of satan and my children would be better off, indeed, saved by my disapearance. Over the next two years, two elders popped in once. Not one single friend in the congregation came to see me, ever. The only person who did was a very humble brother i hardly knew. He popped in for a coffee every week and never tried to bring me back, just talked. Out of the whole congregation he to this day is the only one, a man they would not give any priveldges too, that i respect.
Two years went by and i knew i was never going back to my wife or the witnesses. I stayed faithfull to my wife for two years. When i let 'adultery' happen, it's main purpose was to free my wife to move on, to re-marry. She will never know the pain that caused me and the health problems the stress took. I will always remember her pain, and now her hate, 10 years on. She used this one humble friend i had to serve divorce papers on me.
The meeting with the elders. They tried to figure out how to bring me back, how to not have to disfellowship me. Was i sorry i had hurt Jehovah, sinned againt him? I said plainly NO. How could i feel that i had caused pain to somebody i didn't even have a relationship with? They actually asked me what they should do! i just said i'd didfellowship me! so they did.
in the last 10 years i have had no visits from elders, no annual checking on the didfellowshipped etc. Only publishers who dont even who i am. Oh the local congregation does but like i said, no shows. And thats just the way i like it. Stay away fella's coz i will rip yer bloody heads off! Mainly because of my ex wife JW they are sure not my most favorite people.
Today i am very very content. Recovered fully from those dark times by altering my circumstances in life.
I have never shared this story before, only to my dear new wife.
As for wife number 1, well, she is a stillmajor pain in the glutimus maximus!
I tried to D/A a few months ago after a few visits and calls from elders I was talked out of it. I attended a few meetings putting on a pretence and never being truly happy I had planned on fading away. After not attending the DA I was visited by a few bros trying to guilt trip me again and asking why I didn't go to assembly, I said I hadn't been well and was told by them so and so went for 3 days and she hasn't been well. I said if that works for her good I hope she enjoyed it. I used to think that way too but i,m not going to make myself seriously ill as three days attendance at D/A is enough to make anybody ill. You should have seen the looks I got!
I was wondering how was I going to get out of this without having the harrassment factor. Manna came from heaven and I was asked to go and live abroad for a few months. I did a lot of serious thinking on how to plan my exit. A relative whose wife was a J/w told me "these people are controlling your life, they are telling you what to say, think and do they are taking away your ability to think and reason for yourself" It really hit me then. He had no knowledge of cults and how they operate yet he could reason this out for himself.
After returning home I had a few gifts to give to people at the hall. A bro had been d/f the same night, I was upset and decided ther and then this is my last meeting I'm never coming back. I wrote my d/a letter a few days later and told them not to call me it was my final decision and to respect it. Of course they called back and asked if I wanted "help" I said no i'm ver y happy. It was announced 2 weeks later.