Of course this is extremely personal but I am sharing it with everyone on the board anyhow.
I would like some feedback about my approach in this letter:
1. How I convey my feelings about leaving 'the truth'; do I scare the reader away?
2. Should I mention Armageddon at all?
Who is the reader? (that might help, since this is highly subjective)
1. I was engaged to her until about a year ago. I told her that my beliefs were changing and we were forced to call off the wedding.
2. She got a tatoo right after we terminated our relationship, but clings on dearly to 'the truth'.
3. I have seen her only once in the last 10 months.
4. Especially after her grandmother died a couple of months ago, her family has been opposed to her having contact with me.
5. I just want to be her friend and help her out of the borg.
Thanks to all who care to read and Witness-proof for me :)
It has been quite a while since I have attempted to speak with you. You have the right to listen if you wish to anything I may say. Please make this your own pesonal decision.
Well, what have I to say?
First, that I continue to care for you and your happiness matters to me. I will support you as much as a friend can under the circumstances. I can't ignore that you are in pain right now, for various reasons, of which some I am not aware. But I know the pain is there.
I cannot erase any pain you may be experiencing. But I will not let you suffer unnecessarily.
One of the last times we spoke, you told me, "you are my best friend." I don't doubt that you meant it.
So why sever all ties with me?
Every time I have tried to talk with you, I have been primarily motivated by concern for your well being. I don't ask for much in return: courtesy, respect, and honesty. I hope you do not resent me for showing such concern. It is genuine and unconditional.
If I ever need anything from you, I will ask. Otherwise, you need not worry about 'what I might want from you'.
Of course, I am experiencing pain right now as well. I no longer measure my self-worth in terms of my 'spirituality'. But of course people in my life choose to see things this way. They want to measure out their love for me accordingly. Please do not be one of these people.
Love is not something that should be given in 'measured doses'.
I will surround myself with people whose love for me is unconditional. This is essential for my personal health. You are capable of doing this in your life as well.
Mandy, I have discovered that conditional love is inherent in the mentality of Jehovah's Witnesses. You yourself have been a victim of this, in the past when we were dating; you might still be treated this way. People in the congregation are willing to extend themselves to you only so far as it makes them look good. If they deem you 'weak', perhaps they will condescendingly offer their friendship. But this is not love.
I naively thought in the past that I could change people, and make a difference. Well, the time to make a difference as a member of the congregation is no longer. I learned much about love while I was there (from you, which I greatly appreciate, and from many others). I grew in understanding and love, and eventually the word I was living in became much too small.
I think this is the part of my process to which you can relate. There is of coure much more, regarding my beliefs, some of which you fear. Mandy, I see it as inevitable that your path will eventually take you outside of the congregation. You yourself said this to me long ago: "If it weren't for you I probably wouldn't still be here."
There is no shame in this! I just hope you don't fall away because of being hurt.
I will support you, if you wish, in making wise decisions in this regard. Remember that I am no longer as close-minded and judgemental as I was.
Must you hate me for making the decision to leave? What if you had to make the same decision?
I deeply regret that this decision of mine came when it did, but I couldn't pick my time. There never would have been a convenient time to go.
In fact, it was stated from the platform in the kingdom hall that 'whoever doesn't accept Jesus' ransom doens't belong here'. That was directed to me, intentionally, but also intended to frighten the congregation. That was very unfair.
I know it happened so fast; I changed very fast I must admit. But how can I apologize for what I saw? What I learned?
It hurts me so much that you feel the need to push me away. What is not fair is that you think that by 'punishing' me you might be doing me a favor. This is not love. If you want to love me, then love me as I am.
If you can hang on to anything, remain the caring person I know you to be. I know how torn you must be upon thinking of losing me forever, or anyone else you may care about. But you must see that you are choosing that option. You distance yourself from me now because you fear that sometime in the future I will suffer divine judgement. I don't share your fear, but I can only imagine how painful it is to think about.
Don't give up, though, your right to see how my life turns out. I am sorry if I haven't been perfectly tactful, but I know this is a major issue for you. I didn't wish this pain upon you, let me assure you. I wish I could help you resolve it. Ask yourself, "is it healthy for me to think this way?"
I am sure you need emotional distance from me for personal reasons. I respect that. I am not trying to confuse your emotions. I have had much time to heal, but I felt it very necessary to collect my thoughts and and feelings and deliver them to you now. Maybe this will help you too.
From my perspective, I can't think of one good reason I shouldn't be your friend.
Again, it's your choice as to what kind of friend you want to be. I cannot oblige you to do anything. But please be honest about what you are choosing.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke