My Username says it all.......
I only got into being a dub after marrying a woman who grew up in it but was never baptised. Her father was the typical overbearing elder, in it primarily for the prestige, but never practicing what he preached. After a few years into the marraige she had what could best be described as a so called very emotional "spiritual awakening" in a meeting I accompanied her with to a couple of brothers. They arranged a study for her with a couple of elderly pioneers. It all seemed very rehearsed to me even then.
I agreed to a study a few years after she was baptised and was later baptised myself. But then, I started taking a much closer look at my new "friends" and my new attitude. I noticed the way the younger people were almost paired up in what I could only see as arranged marriages. I realized that I was losing more and more control over my life as the months went by as I tried to conform and I began making decisions that were not necessarily in my best interest, but were in the interest of how that decision would be perceived in the congregation, or the decision that would bring the smug smile on an elders face. I got tired of going to meeting after meeting where it seems that the R\F are constantly being chided on apparently not doing enough in the congregation or for the WTBS. Constantly laying on the guilt trips "are you giving Jehovah your best". I started questioning how was it that my elder brothers who had great jobs, one of which whom was an engineer or architect, could sit there and discourage me from going back to school and better myself and my family, while they were free to drive around in their fancy cars and their nice suits and live the comfortable life they're education had given them. We lived at the time in an apartment with a car that barely got me back and forth to my burger flipping job. I began to notice the haughtiness and the superiority complex of the people around me and how they, and I, constantly looked down our nose that those who were not in the truth. Yea...me too, and I didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.
I was then, at one of my jobs, introduced to a Ex-jw who had fell away due to the 1975 fiasco. Yes, I had been fully indoctrinated and knew I shouldn't have been talking to this person about spiritual matters, but I figured if this really was the "truth", then it should stand on it's own against some hard questions. This was probably the best thing that happened to me, as he opened my eyes to other issues that the brothers had neatly explained away as "new light" getting brighter. I decided then that I'd have to plan my escape.
The sisters who were continueing their study with my wife wanted us to move closer into the congregation's territory and even showed us a couple of duplexes they had seen while in field service. It's no surprise that these duplexes were right around the corner from where they lived. We eventually moved a couple of times to other apartments in an adjacent territory and finally to another city all together. That stopped the study with those sisters, but she continued to go to the meetings at the new hall for awhile.
Like I said before, I had decided to make my escape but I didn't know how my wife would take it so I kept silent and bided my time, just as she had bided hers getting me into the dubs. I rationalized the places I wanted to move as being great moves for us for our children's sake while in reality I wanted to get away from that congregation of elders who thought they knew me so well. When we finally settled into a house I announced that I would be going back to school which met with a less than favorable response from her. She gave me the usual opposition you'd expect from someone entrenched in the organization, meeting attendance, family studies......blah...blah...blah. But I had made up my mind and this was a perfect excuse I could use to make a graceful exit. My zest for the truth had long since been extinguished by what I'd saw and whenever I did go to meetings, which were rare, I never participated or stayed past the first hour. She was at first very intent on getting me back into going to meeting and being a good JW but it finally came to a head one night. One night while she was grilling me about why I didn't want to go to the meetings again I actually got sick and threw up. I had told her over and over again that it just wasn't in my heart to go to the meetings anymore. Finally I point blank told her that I wouldn't be going to the meetings anymore until I was ready and that if this marraige was to survive that on this issue we will have to agree to disagree. Shocked as she may have been, that ended anymore discussion on my lack of meeting attendance though she still occasionally encourages me to come to meeting with her. We're still married and love each other and she still occasionally go to meetings. She has learned to live it defering to my decisions even if they don't follow WT guidelines, though nothing has come up that was that heavy. Whenever I want to do something that she thinks would bother her conscious I either do it alone or sometimes laugh inside while she reationalizes a reason she could do it when I know it's something she will enjoy. But I've come to the conclusion that I want her out of the organization completely as well. I know this is gonna be a tough sell, but with patience I know I'll succeed. Here's my plan.
There has been a lot of layoffs going on in this country, and I'm using it to my advantage. She's recently been laid off on her job so now she's totally dependent on me. In the past she's had no inclination or impetus to educate herself although I know and she's said to me that she always wished she could go to school, so I'm gonna use the bait and switch technique. Since she profess to love me unconditionally and want to help in supporting us I'm holding before her the opportunity to go to school, educate herself and gain some financial independence. I'm using education as the bait and the switch is gonna be college educational classes instead of meeting attendance and indoctrination. I'm hoping that through this I can use the critical thinking and research techniques she'll learn to use in college to slowly expose this farce of a religion for what it truly is, a front for a publishing company and a major pyramid scheme that supports a governing body of old men set apart from what and how people are truly supposed to live. I'm hoping later to slowly introduce her to what I've been learning on this site about the past hidden mistakes and constantly changing doctrines that make up the WTBTS and how they use labels and the fear of losing family and support structures to keep people in spiritual slavery to what's nothing more than a front for a business.
Wish me Luck
Later...I'll tell you all how I got my adult children out of this cult.....
Whilst I on the one hand welcome you here and hope that the place opens up for you new opportunities in thinking, on the other hand, I'm concerned with how you talk about your marriage and the place of your wife, especially using terms such as baiting her, me thinks that you need not be so devious, rather look for opportunity to be more straightforwardly honest with her and treat her as one equal, which I'm sure you do.
Good to see you here.
I love my wife with all my heart and I have no doubt that she loves me also. I've committed to loving and living the rest of my life with her as long as she'll have me and I tell her that. I want her in my life. But on the WTBS anytime anything remotely negative about them come up I can visually see the walls go up and the reasoning faculties shut down and the ice cold tone in her voice.
Based upon what I've read on this site the frank honest approach to dealing with people in the clutches of this cult doesn't work. They are devious in the way they lay claim to their victims, so I figure one has to be just as devious in getting loved ones out. I base this upon how many people here choose to fade away rather than making a bold exit and risking the wrath of the JC and the subsequent silence from family and loved ones who still believe.
Don't misunderstand....I do love this woman and treat her as an equal.
Maybe it was the terms (i.e. ‘bait and switch’) that gave a bad impression. You are quite correct in that the direct approach seldom if ever works with a witness. It sends red flags up all over the place because of the programming that’s in place.
I have found questions to be a useful tool. Unlike a statement, a question provokes the mind into rationalizing. Questions that are not necessarily confrontational but difficult nonetheless are the best. Believe me when I tell you that there are questions in the back of your wife’s mind just like there were in the back of YOUR mind. Knowing how you feel about ‘the truth’ will keep her from talking about those questions so you will have to gently bring those up to the surface and then she will have to deal with them. This is not deception in that you are not giving her false information. You merely want to help her to see clearly so that she can make a more informed decision. The decision must be hers.
Remember that she is being conditioned (programmed) to not think for herself and to equate any negative thought about the Society, the elders, or the brotherhood in general as tantamount to speaking against Jehovah himself. You must be very gentle and very careful, like starting a fire in a wind.
About the college thing, it might work. If nothing else she will be educated and be able to get a better job that she might be happier with.
I am 53 years old and have faded out of the Organization like you and many others, mine was an imprisonment of some 40+ years. After much research on the net for the past several years I found out all the truths about the Truths. One thing I always wanted to do was to go to college. But in the late 60's that was completely taboo. So, like the good little JW, I dismissed it and waited for the end to come.And waited, and waited, and waited.
After fading away for several years I started to think again about college. Last January I started college. I learned much more than what the class offered. The way that college is taught now reinforces independent thinking and critical thinking. Some schools actually have classes called Critical Thinking. But the process is entwined into each class taught, to some degree. In English II and in speech classes it is part of the class structure. In Intro to Psych and in Intro to Sociology, I also learned to think more critically. Sociology actually goes into religion and how it affects society for a whole two weeks in the class I attended. What surprises waited for the students in that class. It is not only the JWs who need an awakening to how religion controls people’s lives. All religions control people’s lives to a degree and can cause great damage to the individuals involved. Some of the students in my class where very surprised to see how religion has affected the world.
But your wife will gain more than critical thinking. She will gain confidence in herself and her decisions and much more. I am a full-time student and I love going. It is hard at times, but so far I have pulled off an GPA of 3.860 and am again on the Dean's list this past semester. I would never have imagined something like this several years ago and still am in awe of myself. I am proud that I went back and did this, but not so much for myself, but so that I can set an example for my grown daughters and every other adult who might hesitate to go back to school at a latter date in life and every other JW out there who has left or is still in and has thought about college. It was one of the best decisions in my life.
So, personally, I think if you would encourage your wife to go back and at least try it, a lot of JWs do, so the stigma is not so bad now, it might help her eventually let go of the JW ignorance, and codependency to the Society that is encouraged by the Organization. If she is already decreasing her meeting attendance as you indicated, then she is already letting go, and she does have her own doubts. But she is more than likely feeling the guilt for doing so that is so carefully indoctrinated into each JW so that they won’t ever leave the WTBTS. My own brother, who has not stepped a foot into the KH in some 30 years, still carries a small amount of guilt around with him for leaving the Organization and still has a inner independence on praying to Jehovah, and wishing that he could go back sometimes. How sad that this happens.
I wish you well in your pursuit of getting your wife out from under the Organizations control. Once you think it is safe, and you might do this now for yourself, have her search the net and find the groups that help ones escape the Organization and present the truth about the "Truth" in complete detail. this site is grat, but there is so much more out there to discover.
This Organization leaves of historic trail of deceiving it's members and of changing new light that leaves most who leave astounded when they discover it. It also helps ones stay out when the guilt and indoctrination rears it's ugly head and lures them back at times. It was a great help to me because I was in some 40 years and when I thought of going back to the old "friends" and indoctrinated routine, I remembered each time what I learned, and it kept me from going back.
You don't say whether or not her family is still in and if they are strong, and if she has siblings and other relatives that are JWs. If so, the pull will be there to stay. I didn't have to fight that much because I left after my mom died and no one else was in but myself, except some in-laws and the so-called friends, whose friendships quickly faded as I did. But it was still hard for me just the same.
I wish you and your wife and children (My children escaped with me as I left, they had no desire to stay, they were smarter than me :) ) all the happinesses life has to offer. Remember, it takes a long time for some people to completely exit. Show her much love, patience and support, which I am sure you are already prepared to do.