A bit of background: I thought that I was an ex-ex-JW until the latest new light. I left in my mid teens without being baptised, and my mum left later. My step-dad and borther stayed in, and are still in. My mum married my stepdad when I was 5 or 6, and I went from having a very relaxed hippyish sort of upbringing to one that was uber strict. So strict that I wasn't even allowed to watch Blue Peter (which is like telling your kid they can't watch Mr Rogers), wasn't allowed many friends, and the ones I did have were so scrutinized that they found it difficult to visit. I learned to lie as a way to survive, desperate to have some semblence of a normal teenage life. I was very well behaved though, at home and school.
My stepdad isn't a bad man. He'd had a wild youth, partying with members of a very famous UK rock band, and his mother gave in to his every whim. He's not super intelligent either, and he overcompensates for feelings of inadequacy by being a dick. So the Watchtower is the perfect religion for someone like him. He gladly took on his role as head of the house, and that included being able to rape and beat my mother on occasion. My mother went to the elders bruised and bleeding and crying so many times I wondered why she even bothered any more. She was told to be a better wife, and he got the odd weak slap on the wrist now and again. It was only when he started turning in fewer hours on his report card that they took his privileges away from him. She's been in the nut house plenty of times, had high blood pressure, on and off anti-depressants. I've bene on anti-depressants most of my life (off now) attempted suicide, and finally, after lots of therapy, broke free and became happy within myself.
We lived in a street with JWs on all sides and the KH literally just round the corner. Most of them stopped talking to me when I left. I went to Uni (FAR AWAY!) then moved abroad. I was able to leave unbaptised because my dad, in a rare fit of gumption, promised he would apply for custody of me if they made me go to any more meetings against my will. My mother left the JWs, unbaptised, in the early 90's after about 15 years, with the generation change and 1975 being the main reason. That generation doictrine and 1975 have stuck in her craw for 30 years. She was told to shut up by many a fine elder when she brought these points up. Now she lives in a large house which she shares with my stepdad, my brother, his wife, and their son - all JW.. It would drive me batshit insane. I have no idea how she got away with not getting baptised.
We can't really talk about JW issues unless I make a rare trip back to the UK, because someone is always listening in. But she has a fairly secret e-mail address I can contact her on. She can't visit apostate websites or watch apostate videos.. can you imagine? Being stuck in this little JW enclave when you aren't one, with no way to talk to other people who think it's a crock of shit?
Now I really want to see the good in people. I like to see all sides of the story. Which is hard when it comes to something like the watchtower because everything that's written about it tends to be so polemical and biased. But I've been trying to read the refutations of some of the main criticisms. Until the other day, lying awake at stupid o'clock in the morning, I had an epiphany and I found myself writing to my mum. And this is what came out. I don't know why I never saw this simple fact before now. I'm putitng it down to the fact that after all these years, my brain still has chunks of the borg embeded in it. I thought some of you might be interested in raeding my e-mail to her. (Identifying details redacted, obviously.)
Ever since I found out about this new light, I've been immersing myself in Watchtower history. Reading the apostates, but wherever I can stomach it, reading the apologists too. In all the years I've known about 1975, there was something missing from the two sides.
The official stance is that SOME witnesses got over enthusiastic, and SOME witnesses speculated that the world would end in 1975. Since the Society never outright come out and say The Big A is coming in 1975 in a way that anyone can make them admit to (though I would LOVE to see some of the official talk outlines from the preceding years, because I bet they were more explicit than the texts the rank and file ever got to see) then apostates can blame the WBTS all they like, and the JWs can carry on denying it.
But it hit me today. The WBTS was writing suggestive texts about 1975 all through the mid to late sixties. All those stories about ones giving selling up and spending the last days pioneering. Headlines like "Why are you looking forward to 1975? Clearly the Watchtower knew the level of excitement there was among the witnesses. If they could SEE that SOME witnesses were getting over enthusiastic, and SOME witnesses were speculating that the world would end in 1975, if they KNEW that the witnesses would take heed of whatever 'encouragement' and 'advice' (or direct orders in other words) they printed....then... WHY ON EARTH DID THEY NOT PRINT A WARNING ABOUT THE ENTHUSIASM AND EXCITEMENT THEY WERE SEEING AMONG THEIR MEMBERS? Why did they not print articles about not knowing they time of the end, disparaging members for possibly bringing ridicule to the organisation? They harp on so much about not not bringing dishonor to they org, and yet they saw this brewing YEARS BEFORE 1975 and printed not a single word telling JWs to calm down. They had it in their power to stop the speculation and excitement and they didn't.
They didn't stop it. They wanted people to believe it. Then they lied about it. And then they told their brainwashed members that it was their own fault.
Forget the Mexico/Malawi debacle, and the blood transfusions and organ transplants, and the pedophile cover-ups, and the Miracle Wheat. I've read official and apolgists refutations of all these things, wanting to see all sides of the argument. But this did it for me. I've spent the last year trying to work out if they Watchtower society is as evil as the apostates say it is. They lied about this, and I'm sure now that they cannot be trusted to tell the truth about any of the other things they ave tried to cover up.
I don't know how you cope living among so many people brainwashed to believe the evil rubbish that this religion spews. I'm glad I escaped without being baptised. It's astonishing to me now that I managed to not be baptised. Not that it matters though because I'm pretty sure that they have me marked as a bad association for questioning the new light. (By the way, have you unfriended me from the business facebook account, or has my stepdad done that because I'm an evil apostate?) It's a wonder to me every day when I check facebook and see that my brother hasn't unfriended me. And you know what, I'm SEETHING that I have to watch what I say around him for fear of being shunned.
I'm not sure why this has me so riled up except that this is the first time I've seen them do the bait and switch with my own eyes. It galls me that my brother will sit in next Sunday's meeting along with all the other witlesses and let this new doctrine change go straight over his heads and nod along without realising that he is being lied to three times a week. (I think next Sunday is when they do the watchtwer study that the new light is mentioned in.) I wanted to believe that there was something, anything, that would redeem the watchtower and make it worth him having wasted his life on it. I think after all these years, my brain still works in a JW way because they seemed so above reproach, because my brother always had such good answers to my questions about the things I found on apostate sites. Maybe now I can fix that.
It must be so frustrating to you to be stuck there, among it all, with no chance to talk about how crazy it is. Next time I come home I'm going to show you how to get to all the juicy apostate sites that I've found without anyone knowing about it. It will do you the world of good to meet other people who left but still have family inside. And to read all the things that confirm what you know anyway. You were right all those years ago about 1975 and the generation teaching. You were right.