I was replying to Flipper’s RE: DID YOU EXIT THE WITNESSES DUE TO INJUSTICES/DIFFERENCES WITH DOCTRINE - BOTH? And I found myself writing my experience and it got a bit long so I am posting here.
I am sorry I can’t tell you my story more specifically but we have been front-page news in our area to do with our beliefs and some of the steps I have taken more recently to show my disgust at the injustices have been unique so it would be easy to recognise me. Remarkably with a lot of effort I have managed to do this while still being considered by most to be strong in the ‘Truth’ so I don’t want to blow my cover yet.
I am taking your advice to me as RE: CAUTIOUS NEWCOMER and RE: HELPING THOSE OUT THAT I HELPED PUT IN, OR JUST STOP MEDDLING, and taking it slow and asking a few hopefully seemingly innocent questions for a while to see if any relatives and friends will rethink their position before I reveal my true feelings.
I became a witness because I was looking for the CRYSTAL CLEAR WATERS OF TRUTH, after seeing the hypocrisy in Christendom. As a young couple, my newly-married partner and I thought we had found it when a witness knocked at our door.
I was not at all interested in the so-called paradise, it all looked boring to me. I was only interested in knowing the truth. I was not impressed by the 1914 date and other dates surrounding it. If they had already changed these dates I didn’t expect them to have any of their other dates right. But there were so many other things that resonated with me, and associating with the sincere, faithful, kind and fun-loving group of people that were in our congregation at that time, we were both hooked.
I loved the prophecies on the march of the world powers and the UN, they seemed clearer. I was dubious about ‘this generation’ as there were only a couple of scriptures mentioning it, but I obediently preached to others about it, as surely this great organization knew better than me. Also no one at that time had been telling me I had to believe everything I was told. Or if they did I hadn’t noticed. In fact it was emphasized keep checking and proving.
THE CRYSTAL CLEAR WATERS ARE STARTING TO BECOME A LITTLE MUDDY. I began reading and hearing that we should accept everything and I started worrying because I just didn’t. At that time we were having to learn about the dates surrounding Rutherford’s time and fitting them into timing in the Bible. These all sounded really ridiculous. I was feeling very guilty because I couldn’t accept it.
But life was good even though it was not easy keeping up the pace as children were now on the scene.
1975 came and went. I know many of you won’t like me saying this but it was not taken much notice of in our area. We didn’t seem to have heard all the hype others were experiencing. Also I worked in the ministry with a close friend of one of GB and it was obvious from the comments that at least that member was not expecting anything either. And still the dates and the paradise thing meant nothing to me personally. I was enjoying life just as it was. I liked the challenges and adventure. Ill health was my only struggle. I enjoyed giving others, that were not as happy as me, a hope for something different and did believe it would come one day.
A LITTLE MORE MUD ADDED TO THE WATERS
The congregation was growing. More elders moved in. I regular pioneered and loved it. I did not like the strange attitude of the elders and some in the congregation that as a pioneer I had now become their property and they could tell me what I should or should not be doing.
A BIGGER LUMP OF MUD
Some new ones in the congregation were not being welcomed and were badly treated. Some left the organisation. Some went and tried other congregations. There were some messy divorces that the elders didn’t seem to be handling very well, and I dutifully trusted their decisions, supposing there must be more to it than I understand so they must be right.
NOW I AM TREADING IN REALLY MURKY WATER AND DIDN’T EVEN REALISE IT. One of my relatives requested help. A judicial meeting was held and no action taken. I assumed it had been handled perfectly even though it resulted in that person falling away. Little did I know until years later how badly it had been handled causing the falling away. And how others who had repeatedly done far worse things were getting away with it.
NOW I REALLY KNOW I AM IN IT.
Changes in ‘the generation’. It horrified me that I had spent my life teaching something I had never really come to grips with in the first place. My trust was seriously damaged and on top of that hardly anyone seemed to notice the changes at all. I think I am going crazy. Why am I the only one concerned?
I AM DROWNING IN THE FILTHY WATER but there were other things to stop me thinking about it all. A member of my family was ill and needed caring for. The death of this very special, warm, loving, caring person, who was not a witness, was not expected.
LIFTED OUT OF THE SEWER
The death did not affect me in the way I would have thought. To lose someone that special who I was so close to, I expected it to have affected me badly. Oh yes there was some natural grieving but the profound experience I felt around the tine of the death left me feeling perfectly peaceful. No weird experiences, just this amazing feeling. I felt with a strong knowing that this person was still alive somehow in some sort of spiritual form. It really didn’t matter how, I just know witnesses had got this one wrong too. I was finding my paradise now.
CLEAR WATER, MUDDY WATER IT DID NOT MATTER ANYMORE.
I AM JUST DIPPING MY TOES IN THE SEWER TO STAY CLOSE TO MY FAMILY & NOT UPSET MY PARTNER.
More serious blows: My partners failing health and prolonged illness occupied my time. The elder spoke of how much they loved and appreciated my partner for what had been done for them, while at the same time causing serious neglect. The distress of my partner caused by this neglect was painful to watch and despite all endeavours from family members, congregation, Bethel and Circuit Overseer’s nothing changed.
An example I can give of the sort of callous behaviour involves a member of another congregation. He was wheelchair bound. A baptized publisher and in regular attendance at the kingdom hall. The congregation built a new kingdom hall and deliberately did not make wheelchair access for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I could fill a book with examples of this sort of behaviour.
During all this a ridiculous judicial committee was set up for another relative. A complete fiasco, bungling lies, you name it, it went on. Bethel ibecame nvolved to get someone to sort it out. It ended up with no action, and even some apologies, but the damage was done.
Also during this time the television programme about child abuse sickened me. The reaction of many witnesses friends to it shocked me. They were choosing not to believe it, brushing it under the carpet, saying anything they could think of, however stupid, to protect the organisation. Then came the revelations from some of my witness friends from other congregations that they had been victims, and I had never known. Brothers I had known and respected were disfellowshipped thankfully, but others got away with it as the victims were not believed.
Then my faithful ever-loving partner died and again I felt peace. It reinforced the different sort of spirituality I felt, far more loving and wonderful than anything I had felt all those years as a door-knocking witness. I do still enjoy some of the more upbuilding parts of the Bible, and I dismiss the rest. I am not sure whether to be grateful to the organisation for teaching me more about the Bible than I had before I joined them, and for the life lessons I've learnt from the experience, or just to be thankful I've all but escaped.
I have been blessed with a wonderful family and marriage partner and friends so I have much to be grateful for and intend to enjoy the rest of my life with or without those who will stick by me.
I’ve had a few years since to thoroughly examine my former witness beliefs, and especially after checking this site in the last few months there are only a few of my former beliefs hanging by a thread. One of them being the blood issue. There seem to be some health reasons for not taking blood but I certainly don’t think lives should be put at risk. Because of my circumstances I don’t have to get involved with field service or meeting attendance. I keep up by skimming the literature and concentrate only on positive and encouraging subjects so that I have something to discuss with family and friends.
I don’t bear any grudges against the above elders involved in our personal lives. They were doing what they thought was right and with inadequate training. And I don’t want the heavy burden that unforgiveness carries.
I am not sure what to make of the Governing Body. They are the ones carrying the heaviest responsibility. I have thought many times of writing to them. Maybe I will one day.
I look forward, when the time comes I can speak freely, to telling you some of the more hilarious times we’ve been on the receiving end of completely stupid behaviour, and how we managed to have the last laugh.
Meanwhile keep up the good work all of you. It is so much appreciated, and who knows, even if none of my family listen to me maybe someone will read this and it will help them. Or maybe I can make amends for the damage I've done witnessing to other, by contributing to this site.