My experience is in no way remarkeable but I felt like sharing it anyway. I was raised a JW. My mom became one the year I was born. My other brothers and sisters never did take a liking to it but I stuck with it for some reason. I will say this though about my mother, her becoming a Witness is what saved her marriage. Things were rocky for a while but she completely changed into a better person when she became a Witness. I was baptized when I was 12, although now I'm not sure how much of it was all my choice. Seemingly "friendly suggestions" I'd say are what prompted me. Something that may seem very stupid caused me to start doubting what I was taught my whole life. Working as an attendant one convention year, I had the "pleasure" of being there when the doors opened. These friends who are supposed to be so loving, were pushing each other going through the door to try and be the first one to get the best seats. That always bugged me. Anywho, some time went by and I blindly ignored any doubts I had. I just kinda went along with the flow. Eventually I got out of school, became a ministerial servant and pioneered. I did not choose to pioneer. I was heavily guilted into doing it. I couldn't find a job because I had no education because going to school was a big no-no. That is unless I wanted to work at McDonald's for the rest of my life. My mom said "well you aren't doing anything else so you should pioneer". She was right, I wasn't doing anything else. However, I did not want to pioneer. I never did enjoy the ministry. I always felt like I was bothering people. I imagined how I would feel if someone came knocking at my door on my day off early in the morning and I knew I would hate it. So I'd get people at home, sometimes place literature, but rarely stop back. Eventually I did get a job. It was a full time job so I told the elders that I couldn't pioneer anymore. I was getting max 40 hours a month. They insisted I continue pioneering. "You are the only brother who is a pioneer. We need you." That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was never about actually going out in the ministry. It was all about the title. For instance, does anybody actually really need to pioneer to go get 70 hours a month? No, you could do it without the title. But no, all that matters is the title. And that made me think about another point. Those pioneer meetings, if the information is so helpful in teaching, why is it only pioneers get to partake in those meetings? Aren't we all supposed to be teachers? I guess those people who work full time and have families aren't worthy of that special information. Nope, you gotta have that title. It's like an exclusive club. I could see having special elders and ministerial servant meetings because not everybody gets to do that job. But everybody is supposed to be a teacher in the congregation.
The disfellowshipping arrangment has always rubbed me the wrong way. What's the difference between someone who was raised a Witness, never gets baptized and leaves at the age of 16 and someone who gets baptized and gets disfellowshipped at the age of 16? Why should they be treated any differently? Why should we bully people into doing what we want them to do? I never cared for it.
Another thing that really bugged me was this particular experience. We had a brother who had cancer so the elders told me they wanted to try to get meals provided for his family since they had so much on their table with taking care of elderly parents and the whole cancer thing. I had no problems helping out. I had friends tell me "I'd be glad to make meals for them" but when the time came to actually provide meals they couldn't be bothered. They'd come up with some lame excuses. I knew these people I asked. They didn't work, they always cooked for their families. They couldn't be bothered to cook a little extra? Where's that love we hear so much about? Of course, some of the friends were not able to help out but most of the time it would fall on the same couple of sisters to help even though I knew there were plenty of friends who could have pitched in.
Overall, I'd say most of the Witnesses I have met or known seem genuine. Many of them are people I don't mind having around me. Certain families that are just awesome. Sadly, there are just as many families who are phonies. I know many of you don't care much for any Witnesses but I realize many of them are trying to do the right thing by what they know. I'm starting to realize more and more how things really are. I've started to open my eyes and see that the organization is not as faultless as they'd lead their followers to believe. During an international convention, we had one of the GB members give some talks and his concluding talk he talked a lot about the "false prophecies" the Society has made and he said "At least it shows we are keeping awake". That talk made me really think about the organization and how sometimes they are flat out wrong. So this is where I stand right now. Where I go from here, I just don't know. I'm not looking for any suggestions. I'll find my own way about things but I just felt I needed somewhere to share my experiences and certain thoughts I've had and I see this is a pretty welcoming place to do such.