I don't remember my last day of field service or my last meeting. But it has been more than 20 years, and I left suddenly.
The Day I had an Epiphany
I tend to learn in "epiphanies". They take a while. I wish I could learn as I go sometimes.
Yeah, I remember my last day in FS. I was smirking inside. So happy. It was a unique opportunity for reflection, as I went out with car groups for 3 months as I contemplated my escape, and how I was going to leave.
I did go through the JW motions for 3 months. I had to keep up appearances of course. While I knew I was going to leave, I got to be in the Chairmans office all 3 days for the DC, and hang around the heavies one last time. Talk about seeing why leaving was such a good idea. All the pious elders in our own little caste. It made me ill.
My last months in FS allowed me to see the sincerity of some JW's, to really see how stupid and irritating JW's are with the irrational door knocking, magazine distributing is. How the people look at JW's as N U T S. It was a time of reflection, before starting my new life.
My final memory was me as an elder, serving as an attendant for a Sunday meeting. That afternoon, when everyone went to a picnic, I was going to leave to my newly rented apt. I took it all in. The people, being in a KH, my life, how I got to that point where after all I had been through, I was sitting in the back of a KH for the last time, looking at everyone, no one looking at me. Here I was, knowing in about 5 hours, I was going to be a villan to rival Judas in the eyes of some.
Life hasn't been easy all the time since I left, but those first 2 months after I left were the happiest I can remember as an adult.
Thank you for this thread, JO, and I thank all of you for sharing your thoughts with us.
My epiphany came as I re-read the condescending letter sent to us by the society in response to our letter questioning their involvement with the UN. I sat on my sofa, put the letter down on my lap, took a deep breath, and whispered to myself: "I't's over". The feeling of relief was overwhelmeing. After 46 years, my life as a witness was officially over and I felt wonderful.
I had stopped going in field service as soon as I found the info on the UN. Though awaiting response from the society, I could not, in good conscience, go out and speak to others of this religion if it turned out to be shrouded in hypocrisy. I do remember the last time I went in FS but I did not know at that moment it would be my last.
I faded from the meetings over a seven month period, to avoid the attention of the elders. Each meeting was torture. On my last meeting, my son in law, who knew I was having serious doubts, gave me a dirty look. I got up and walked out in the middle of the Sunday talk and have never been back. :)
Excellent topic. I've enjoyed reading every one's story. I don't remember when I quit the door to door thing. It was probably several years before I made a formal break. I do however remember my last meeting. It was a special one day convention at Dodger Stadium. I was already on my way out but decided to give them one last chance to say something worth saying that would cause me to stay. The whole thing was about being obedient to the organization and not going ahead of Jehovah. They spent a lot of time harping on some of their favorite pet peeves, long hair and beards. And there I was sitting there with beard. I remember them saying why would some witnesses make a big deal over these small issues instead of just going with God's organization. I thought, who's making the the big deal? Who rented Dodger Stadium to beat the faithful over the head with their opinions on such a pointless issues? That was it for me. I never went to another meeting.
It's interesting to hear these accounts and feel your feelings when your moment of awakening arrived.
For me, it was like ending a bad relationship. Like changeling described, you just know it's over and you experience this one moment of pure awakening. Then this feeling of overwhelming peace and certainty envelops you and you just sit back and bask in the warmth of relief.
My lightbulb 'moment' was when I was working on 2 Regional Building Committees - so I would literally work 40hr during the week, and then give up EVERY weekend to work at a 'site' either building a KHall or remodeling one. Because of that, I was rarely in FS or at my Sun mtgs, and on my time slip I would account for all the hrs I was on a Khall site. An elder pulled me to the side and told me that I had to 'renew' my application for RBC and that it would probably be denied because I had NO time in service and wasn't regular at ALL mtgs.
HUH?????????????????????????????????? That was when things started unravelling for me. Slowly, of course, but they did.
Dear Changeling, would it be possible to read the letter the Society sent you?
nope...dont have a clue...i have blocked as much of out of my mind as possible evidently....oompa....but i liked your story