Did you Exit the Witnesses Gradually - Or Exit Suddenly - Your Reasons ?

by flipper 66 Replies latest jw friends

  • lovelylil2

    I made a very quick exit.

    True story;

    I had been questioning the WT teachings for a few months and was confused about whether I wanted to leave or not. My husband and I were in almost 12 years and raised two kids up in it. He was a MS and me a pioneer.

    I had been praying to God to help me make the right decision about what to do. If I was in the true religion I wanted him to reveal it to me. And if not, I wanted to know as well. However, I knew if I tried to leave my husband may walk out on me and leave me with two kids to support and no job at the time. Needless to say I was under a lot of stress. I literally prayed the same prayer once in the morning and once at night and that was asking, no pleading, to know if this religion was true or not. I even asked Jehovah to forgive me if I was wrong but I wanted to ask Jesus directly for help. I was so scared when I did this I was completely shaking.

    Anyway, still not knowing what to do after a few weeks of prayer, I went to the hall one sunday with hubby and the kids for the meeting. During the WT study I had an experience I can only call a spiritual epiphany of sorts. I looked around at the group there and had an overwelming feeling that I did not belong there. I knew instantly I was in a cult and I became fearful! All my confusion cleared up and I knew I had to get myself and my kids out of the witnesses no matter what.

    It was such a profound experience I still cannot really explain it. I came sooo close to standing up and announcing to the whole congregation that we are all in a cult. My husband turned and saw I was getting totally anxious. I felt like I had to RUN out of the hall, I was so overwelmed by emotions I got up and left. I went and sat in the car for the hour.

    When my husband came out with the kids, he got in the car and I told him I made a decision and that was not to attend any more meetings at the kingdom hall.

    That night I wrote my DA letter and dropped it off a few days later. I simply placed it in the mailbox of the KH. It was 10 pages long with lots of scriptures. I told the elders not to bother coming by unless it was to prove to me scripturally that my position was incorrect. They never came by.

    My husband thought for sure I had a breakdown. But you know what? I felt great as soon as I handed in my letter. I never looked back, it was that swift. I was very sure I made the right decision.

    It was hard for a few months, my hubby tried everything to get me to change my mind including pleading, begging and threatening to leave me. I stood my ground even when he would not listen to me at all. I stayed calm even when he was yelling and did not let him persuade me to go back.

    He did read my letter and look up the scriptures but didn't do anything right away. He did finally leave a few months later. His reason? He said that although he kept attending meetings and the elders knew I Da'd and the kids weren't there, they seemed afraid to approach him in any way. They never called him in the back to ask him what happened or asked how he was doing, etc. He felt in his heart that scripturally they probably did not have a leg to stand on and were afraid to even try so they just totally ignored him, even though He hadn't done anything wrong. That sealed it for him, and he came home one thursday night from the meeting and told me he was never going back.

    This happened almost 7 years ago. Peace, Lilly

  • Quandry

    My husband was an elder...he and I were uber dubs....toilet cleaning dynamos....I did have a couple of doubts when the 1995 "generation change" came about...but I was determined to guilt myself into believing that I was the weak person of little faith.

    But....when my 16 yr. old daughter, a straight A student, shy, never been in trouble type, got with a few other teen girls and did some normal stupid teen stuff, five elders humiliated, berated, and "spiritually beat" her. They accused her of fornication, and called her a liar when she repeatedly insisted that she did not commit it. (She did not-there was no accusation from anyone, no witnesses, and no confession)They df'd her, with the sneering words, "You are disfellowshipped, and if you are still disfellowshipped when Armageddon comes, you can take some comfort in knowing that he reads hearts."

    Though she was df'd, and we wrote the WTS many letters protesting her treatment, we still attended the KHall.

    My husband was removed as an elder-it was announced by the chairman of our daughter's JC along with an announcement of an auxiliary pioneer fot the month, and he added, "Aren't we glad for this good news?" (no one clapped) Eventually my husband would not go...it was too upsetting for him..he had done nothing wrong...

    A few weeks later, at a Sunday meeting, the speaker read a scripture in Rev. that said "outside are the liars...and the filth....they will burn in the fire with the devil and his angels.." My daughter leaned over to me and said, "They made me read this scripture" (obviously applying it to her). I told her to get her things. We walked out and never returned.

  • lovelylil2


    I feel so sorry that your family and especially your daughter had to go through that awful experience.

    My good friend who was in for 20 years was treated in a similar way by the elders. It was stuff like this that started to really weigh on my mind. The elders used to brag to my hubby who was a ms about how they brow beat people and what sinners they were. They even told their wives what went on it JC meetings. I kept thinking, is this religion was really from God, then where is the Christ like love ?

    I am glad I got out when my kids were still young. My daughter is 17 now. I cannot imagine what I would have done if anyone dared to refer to my child as "filth" or a "dog". I am sure I would have had to be pulled off the brothers.

    How is your daughter doing now?

  • jonathan dough
    jonathan dough

    If Dogpatch is reading this maybe he could see that his newspaper contact in Southern California reads this as well.

    He wanted stories? These are great.

  • flipper

    SPOOK- I'm glad you got out. Unbalanced is certainly correct, for sure. The Jehovah's Witnesses are one of the most unbalanced organizations I've ever seen.

    LOVELYLIL 2 - Very interesting experience by you ! Wow ! Glad you exited the cult and have stayed out. And your husband and children as well. Isn't it amazing when we each have our " moment of clarity " or epiphany when we wake up and see it isn't the " truth " ? Then it's just a matter of walking out the doors of the kingdom hall and avoiding having mind numbing information ever drilled into us again. Glad you got your freedom.

    QUANDRY- It is absolutely disgusting what those elders did to your daughter. It's a good thing I wasn't your husband or you would have had to bail me out of jail after I made the committee elder black and blue with my fists ! Did you get any response from the society after writing letters protesting your daughters DFing ? I think the ones who will burn in a hellfire was those elders on your daughters JC. I'm glad you , your daughter, and husband got out in time. Good for you.

    JONATHAN DOUGH- These really are great stories which I think will help many people to understand they aren't alone in being ostracized by family after exiting

  • lovelylil2


    Thanks for your kind words.

    For anyone thinking of leaving like I did;

    it was not easy although it may sound that way by my posts. I am now 7 years looking back so the pain of the experience is gone but I was really scared to tell my husband. At first he tolerated it pretty well. I think he thought I would come to my senses but then I didn't. Anyway, when I did not change my mind after a week, he had the mother of all melt downs in our kitchen one night, right in front of our two yound kids. My husband is HUGE. He is 6 feet tall and 250 pounds of pure beastly strength. He has huge hands, legs, arms, etc. Everything about him is BIG. I am 5 ft tall, mini italian lady ok.

    Anyway he screamed so loud at me, calling me names and banging the chairs around and I thought he was going to hit me in the face and completely knock me out. My kids were screaming and crying. he literally yelled for about 2 hours. Telling me the kids will die because of me. I did not say even one word. I knew if I did it would make it worse. He then went upstairs and packed his bags, got in the family car and left. I thought he would never come back but he returned the next day. And then he forbade me from speaking about "spiritual" things with him or the kids.

    It took 3 months of patience and prayer until he finally came around. He read my letter but I think he needed time to digest it. I told him if he wanted to stay a JW then I would fully support that decision and not interfere in any way. He really didn't care about the kids sprituality because I always handled that anyway.

    I can look back now and see he reacted out of total fear. For me, I still had a relationship with God intact but he had no idea what he would do or where to go after life in the WT. I think his ego was hurt too. He finally started to realize he had been duped and had trouble handling it.

    Anyway, some advice to anyone wanting to leave and having a believing spouse still in, I think it is important to have some type of support system set up to help you deal with the stress of it all, BEFORE you actually make your exit. If I had to do it over again, I would have gotten family more involved in my decision (none of them were witnesses) so I would have felt safer telling my husband. Like maybe if one of my brothers was there for instance.

    Your support could be your new faith, family, friends, or any others you can trust, but again you need something else to replace the WT, and you need it right away. Looking back I may have left too fast because I just could not take being there any longer. I was in total fear that something would happen to my kids. I knew it was a cult and just had to leave. I was emotionally and spiritually dying a little more each day I stayed there.

    But leaving so fast did affect my kids initially. They were confused and upset, especially seeing their dad get so angry and even they were afraid Jehovah was going to kill them. I do not really recomend leaving like I did to anyone else but it did eventually work out and we are doing great, the kids are thriving in High School and hubby and I are still married. We rarely if ever think about our JW experiences.

    Peace to all having doubts, Lilly

  • jonathan dough
    jonathan dough
    he had no idea what he would do or where to go after life in the WT


  • JAFO

    Mine was quick.

    My mother and us 3 kids began studying in early 1974, I think, when I was 13. (I'm the oldest, my brother, Aussie Oz, has already told his story back on the first page of this thread) Until this time I'd been very academically inclined and had probably been reading a book a day since the age of 5 or so. The anti-academic bias didn't sit well with me even then, but I trusted my mother's judgement and so I tried to quell my misgivings and be the good, well-behaved son I was expected to be.

    Sometimes it was not so easy.. I still recall one Thurs night Ministry School - I would have been 15 - where two sisters were on stage discussing evolution. One says to the other "So I said to them, well, if monkeys turned into people, why aren't people turning into monkeys today?" The triumphant tone with which she delivered this devastating piece of logic stunned me, but not as much as did the applause this remark drew from the audience! I couldn't believe it! How could they hope to convince any half thinking person with the slightest understanding of the theory of evolution if this was considered brilliant argument? Then the brother - whom I had considered fairly intelligent - gets up to critique the presentation, and actually proceeds to praise her for this steaming turd of a remark! (I'm not sure, but I have a feeling, that night she was working on "logical development of an argument"!)

    Fast-forward 10 years, and I'm working as a railway clerk in Alice Springs, Central Australia. This was a cut above the kind of employment the elders would have liked me to pursue, but they couldn't complain too much, as I'd only had one more year of high-school than they'd have preferred. I'd had the usual battles with masturbation, and my time as a junior clerk before I'd left home at 21 had given me easy access to porn at work, which certainly didn't help! I had been struggling to maintain my faith in the small, insular, 3 main families based congo we had ended up at after my mother's re-marriage to a brother in another state. I hoped the transfer to the Northern Territory and a bigger congo would help. 18 months passed, I was now almost 23, and pressure was being put on me to dedicate myself and get baptised. I thought (hoped) to myself that maybe this step would somehow help to strengthen my yet-again weakening faith, and so I made all the right noises at the right times, and proceeded to get baptised.

    A few months on, I was asked to take under my wing an unbaptised 17 yo boy from a troubled family in the congo, to try to be a good influence on him. His family (DF father) was moving back to the coast, and he wanted to stay in "The Alice" because of his worldly girlfriend. This proved to be rather a challenge, as he had many bad influences on him, and was up to all kinds of stuff that I didn't even know about for some time. I felt I was making slow but steady progress with him, but apparently not fast enough to suit the BoE.. they hauled him up on charges of some kind (smoking, I think) and proceeded to give him a good dressing-down besides some public humiliation in front of the entire congo. Things spiralled down from there, the bad treatment continued, and I began to see that they were much less concerned about lovingly trying to help a lost sheep than they were about driving him out where the wolves could have him. He stopped attending meetings.

    This injustice troubled me greatly, and I skipped a few meetings to try to sort out for once and for all how I felt about things. I came to the conclusion that I was being hypocritical by advocating to others a way of life that I no longer believed in. I stopped attending altogether. A few weeks later 2 elders came to see me. I told them that I was no longer interested in being a jw, and that they could consider me to have disassociated myself.

    A few weeks later I got notice that they would be making the announcement, so, being the bloody-minded kind of guy I am, of course I decided to attend that particular meeting. <insert evil-grin emoticon>

    From the moment I stepped into the hall it was obvious that the announcement would be coming as no surprise to most people there.. I took a kind of perverse pleasure in the flinching and avoidance I saw all around me. I seated myself in the very front row. The meeting dragged on, I made sure to look up every scripture quoted, and sang every song. Finally the announcement was made. I was not DA'd.. I had been DF'd! I stood, making sure to hide my surprise, kept my head held high, and strode out past the lot of them..

    I have never set foot in a kh, or read a WT$ publication since that day.

    The years that followed were not easy, but I was something of a loner by nature anyway, my family were all thousands of km's away, and I found better friends amongst the friends of the young man I'd tried to help.. of course, that led down a path of going wild (in a mild kind of way, hey the 'inculcation' runs deep) that eventually led to me spending 4 months in jail, and a couple of bouts of depression, but it also led to a search for meaning, values and spirituality that felt right for me. One thing the jw's had done well, they'd shown me the other mainstream religions out there were all fundamentally flawed too, so at least that eliminated a whole bunch of beliefs I didn't need to explore.

    It took roughly 15 years before I reached a point in my life where I felt truly comfortable with who I am, but every day of my 26 years out of the bOrg has been better than being 'in'. Nothing compares with the freedom to think, feel and act as you believe.

    JustAnotherFuckin'Observer (JAFO)

  • flipper

    LOVELYLIL 2 - Wow. Your husband certainly DID have an " emotional meltdown " didn't he ? It's good you were understanding of what caused him to act that way- fear. It's amazing your marriage stayed intact through it all. He must have really softened in time as he saw through the WT scam. So did he stop going to meetings after that 3 month period you mentioned when he started coming around, or did it take him longer to stop attending ? Just curious. I'm glad everything worked out for you guys.

    JAEO- Welcome to the board friend. I love your quote, " Nothing compares with the freedom to think , feel and act as you believe. " My sentiment as well ! We were never allowed to think for ourselves in the JW cult. So it sounds like you experienced seeing injustices committed which propelled you to exit the witnesses. I experienced the same thing. One too many injustices for me which " waiting on Jehovah " to fix all of them NEVER worked. So I fixed the problem by leaving. I'm glad you're on the board- look forward to reading more of your posts ! Take care, Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • flipper

    NATHMEDEAH- Nothing cowardly about slipping out the back door at all and just stop going. It's what I did so as to try to keep somewhat connected with JW family still in. I didn't want to face any questions or coercion by the elders towards me. Nothing wrong with that, why give them more power than they already THINK they have ? Peace out, Mr. Flipper

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