Leaving Jehovah's Witnesses is a Negative, Depressing Thing To Do, but....

by AllTimeJeff 47 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • SixofNine

    Nice map-of-the-pitfalls, Jeff. I agree with you that it's a jungle out there, but people pay good money for adventures in the jungle . My only critique of your article is with the title, and to some extent the tone of the first few paragraphs. My thinking is that the instant a person allows themselves to think "wow, the governing body are just flat out wrong on that one".... even if that person has been brutally disfellowshipped - their life is about to get a whole lot better! Much Much MUCH better. Well, you know.... if they have the right attitude.

    Being a Jehovah's Witness sucks. Bigtime. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Learning you were wrong, and that the world can make a little sense, and that your lovely worldly neighbors are not condemned to die, is WONDERFUL. It really is all good. Except for that painful, lose-all-your-family-and-friends thing. But hey, what are yah gonna do? It's certainly worth a valiant effort to get them out, but don't get your hopes up too much. Mourn them like a death, while enjoying the hell out of being free. Have a little Schadenfreude for the ones you didn't really care that much about anyway ;)

    Attitude is everything. And while everyone is going to have their own "attitude" by virtue of their unique personalities, to the extent anyone can influence anyone else' attitude that influence ought to be towards the "Leaving Jehovah's Witnesses is a Positive, Happy Thing To Do, but..." spectrum.

    Because it is.

    I can think of many examples from this web-site of people who either A) took literally years, and painful years at that, to become a semi-comfortable worldly* person, or B) took a relatively short, wonder-filled few months to become a happy, comfortable worldly person.

    Admittedly it's easier to find more examples of the former than the latter; but I can't help but think attitude has a lot to do with that. I'm not blaming the victim here, the Watchtower has carefully poisoned-the-well; they've made the jungle a dangerous, scary place. But let's not do their work for them. Attitude is everything. Compared to being a Jehovah's Witness, being "worldly" is better, MUCH better. Better is good.

    *I like "worldly" here, because it conveys getting to equal footing with everyone else in the world. Not "apostate", not "ex-JW", just worldly. You'll always be those things, but the end-state is just to not-be-a-JW, you know, like 6 billion other people.

  • mindmelda

    Another Witness asked me once, "What would you do if you weren't a Witness?"

    The answer is simple....what the other 99% of the human race does. For better or worse...but most importantly, that's MY choice because it's my life.

    I would chose wisely, I would hope, like so many others do. Honestly, most people aren't out there trying to kill themselves or ruin their lives.

    So many things to do...number one is to go back to college. A mindmelda is a terrible thing to waste.

  • mindmelda

    Oh, it's probably a good idea to quit thinking of yourself as "worldly" too. Time to quit using WTS babble unless needed to make fun of them. LOL

  • MsDucky

    Yet, it is important to your future that you actually make the best of it and find the positive. To wallow, for the lack of a better term, is to simply miss the benefits of moving forward. To say “I was a JW, and damn it, I can’t do anything about the future they robbed from me” is to give the victory to the Governing Body. Aren’t they the ones who said if you left you would be miserable?

    The truth for me is that I was "more miserable" as a Jehovah's Witness. Anything was better than staying in the religion. I disassociated myself thinking that I was a goat; but I was a less stressed-out goat. Then, I found the internet and was able to let that definition, "goat", go. I think you start moving on as soon as you wake-up and see the light and find that it's okay to let go. Just don't stay in that cognitive dissonance mode. Do something!

  • SixofNine
    Oh, it's probably a good idea to quit thinking of yourself as "worldly" too.

    I disagree, because "worldly" has mostly positive connotations (experienced, sophisticated) outside of the Witnesses. Even among JW's it is often-as-not used to simply designate people as "not-JW" w/o any further pejorative (beyond the basic).

    In fact, many of us wish our witness family would simply treat us worldly people.

  • EmptyInside

    Thanks Jeff, I really needed this today. Some days are better than others. And being in fading limbo, I often feel trapped.

  • cantleave

    I have no regrets, although not DF'd or DA'd I feel completely free of the organisation. I get phone calls from time to time, I say the right things and forget about it. I still see JW's at work and have one or two who are friends, it know it's conditional freindship so when they finally give up on me I won't care. If they stay friends that is a bonus, I like them I don't like their beliefs.

    When I first left I thought I would fade slowly, that was quite a negative experience. i was attending a couple of random meetings a month. Then it dawned on me there is no point to a slow fade (thanks to advice from people on this board). So a over a month ago I Just stopped going to meetings. It has worked well, i think it has taken the whole congregation by shock, they think I'm on a sabbatical or something. Elder one minute out completely the next, "surely we'll see nugget and cantleave soon" they are thinking. I'll let them believe what they want, but I'm not going to be back.

    That simple decision, not to go to meetings ever again has turned leaving into a very positive experience.

  • mindmelda

    I don't think of myself as "worldly" in the JW sense because it was always used to describe "THOSE" people the ones who God is going to destroy. I never heard any Witnesses use it without their nose in the air and like it was the worst thing you could be!

    Of course, I belonged to a congo so self righteous that even other congregations would call them "the Pharisees". No kidding! A whole congo of mostly super Witnesses. argh. You got looked down on if you didn't sell your house and use the money to pioneer, crap like that.

    I once even got, "Oh, I'm sorry!" when I told some other Witnesses at an assembly which congregation I belonged to for 25 years. LOL

    I wouldn't have any problem with being termed worldy in the way the other 99% of people mean it, sophisticated. LOL

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Very well done Jeff.

    You would have made a great elder & missionary.


  • not a captive
    not a captive

    Thanks for the post. I want my DF'd son to read it . Lots of the pitfalls he hit and had to climb out of . Beginning to see sunshine after a couple of years.


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