The title pretty much explains it all... I don't want to go too much into my story (for paranoid fear of identification), but I have been raised in the "truth", and got baptized at a young age- too young to truly understand what I was getting into. I still live with my parents, and as such don't want to make a move just yet, as it would destroy virtually everything I have left. As of now though, I see myself leaning towards agnosticism.
Here's my short sob story. Skip if you want.
My "devotion" to Jehovah in baptism was mostly a combination of fear and peer pressure. I knew it was a HUGE step. My parents- among others - ironically, would tell me over and over again that I should start thinking about getting baptized. Seemingly immediately after, they would tell me that I should only be doing this for Jehovah. BUT- "all the other kids" were getting baptized. Even though I did believe it was the so-called truth, I felt under so much pressure on my young mind that I really had no choice, so, in a way, I kind of lied and went through with it.
Now that I look back at this, I feel sick looking at the predicament I'm in now. As I've grown into more of an adult, and have developed my own distinct personality, I have come to value equality. If God is loving, surely he wants happiness, and equality- not to destroy things, especially for trivial reasons (In particular, families). I started thinking about how if one person honestly didn't agree or understand another persons decision, that was okay. But I always thought it was unfair that the society made things so black and white- people were either "worldy"- meaning they didn't understand the bible and were sinners. Then there were people who were in good standing with jehovah; his people. These of course were us, the witnesses. Then there were apostates- those who, as depicted by the society, were out to destroy you, and even listening to one was up there next to fornication, murder and the like. But as an organization who seems to value itself on freedom of information and an "upbuilding" from brother to brother, it seemed ironic that basically anyone who didn't agree with what was taught (which on multiple occasions they WERE wrong) was an apostate, and was out to harm you. This though, makes it impossible to point something wrong out, as you're creating sects and divisions- something linked to apostacy. So how are these things corrected without bringing them up?
None of this made sense to me. Another thing that bothered me was the ignorance of some of the ones in charge. I'm not calling anyone stupid by any means, but I have a thirst for linking the bible with science, and explaining things from a scientific viewpoint those taught from the bible. Science is not a belief- it's simple the process of collecting evidence and making the most logical conclusion. I've had elders' eyes glaze over at me just bringing the subject up. Why won't they listen? I'm telling them something that should further prove the relevance of the bible, and they're looking at me as if I'm thinking too much- having independent though! My dad has even told me that- stated simply- he pretty much only accepts from science what he wants to believe. I was trying to explain to him why there are two sides to every story- and how people scientifically perceive their situation and make the best decision they can based on what THEY have seen, even though to others it seems stupid, because they have either more, or less evidence of the situation at hand compiled in their minds. I tried explaining this to him and he stopped me like I was the stupid one for speaking it as fact, even though (through science!) what I was saying has a firm backing in analasys of human behavior and psychology.
Anyways, add to this (though barely scratching the surface) the breaking point and you have my story. In a recent watchtower study (I can't remember which date exactly, but within the last two or three months... look for yourself) we were studying about 1914 and about the talk "Millions living now will never die" or something like that. Now, I'm no expert, but when you use quotation marks, every single letter in between said marks are to be exact- to the letter- of what is being quoted. To the right of the page, they had a photograph of the book "Millions living now WILL never die", here, emphasizing the word "will". But in the paragraph, they specifically quoted it this way way, "Millions living now MAY never die", thus playing off the fact that most if not all during that "now" period of time are dead. This sent me off, because to DELIBERATELY misqote something that you know full well changes the effect of the sentence is no more than twisting the truth. Also known through the example of satan as LYING.
Well a month or two has passed since I've determined that this is all fake, but these are the choices I now face, as I have calculated:
1. I fade from the organization.
Over a period of a year or two after moving away from my hometown (and out of my parents house), I make less and less "quick" meeting in my new city (by quick I mean arriving too late and leaving too soon to associate). By fading out of the congregation, I still have access to speaking with my family, and friends (although probably limited) in the org.
Downside: Although this seem as the most promising plan, I know that possibly in my new city my parents may want to visit, and may discover that I don't know anyone in my city's congregation. In addition, over an even longer period of time, it would become apparent that, because of the constantly changing doctrine of the Society, I would not be up to date on new events and the such. This is, of course, assuming that I disconnect ALL ties involving the org. This may break my parents heart, and I love them very much and do NOT want them to be heartbroken. In addition, assuming I eventually get married, it would be discovered that I'm with a "worldly" woman, and would most likely be disfellowshipped, leading to #2...
2. I get disfellowshipped.
Well, now it's disassociated (No longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses). In this situation, I would disappoint pretty much everyone I know, and bring my parents hearts to an all-time low. All of my other siblings have grown out of it, and me being ANOTHER one of their children that they can't even speak to now pretty much just leaves mom and dad all alone- a very sad, depressing situation to imagine. On the other side of the fence, I would never get to speak to my parents, have them at my marriage, show them their grandkids, etc. To each of us on other sides of the fence, it would appear as the other was essentially dead.
3. I live a lie.
In this scenario, I live the rest of my life (or at least until my parents die, which could be a long time...) in a lie, preaching, pioneering and the like, knowing full well I'm not speaking what I believe, making me the worst kind of person; a hypocrite. When I imagine following this course I see myself in my 40's being asked questions at a study with somone who doesn't believe what I'm telling him. I agree mentally but I have to practically lie and say what "they" tell me to say. I will have all of my fake friends and family, who (under no fault of their own, but through a ridiculous fear of man) are associating with me with partiality and who, at the utterance of a sentence, may not even look at me. I would have everything I want, yet nothing. My life would be wasted, used up for something I KNOW isn't real.
So, after typing this, I hope you at least sort of understand what I'm up against... I guess I need help answering these questions:
Where and how can I go about making new friends? (I am homeschooled, like a lot of witness youths, and as such my social skills are, safe to say, effectively destroyed.). I know this sounds cheesy but obviously I need some support to fall back upon when I finally do make my move, and the standards set up by this manipulative organization ( can I just say cult?) have done a clean job of obliterating any easy way out, as I have pretty much NO friends outside of this organization, and even then, it's pretty few.
The second question I have is how can I, independently, get myself back on the track of higher education AFTER eighteen? (Trying to get in to college with my current status would be like a pizza delivery boy trying to work at nasa...)
Lastly I just want to ask if you could give your personal experience of how you left, if your situation and stakes are somewhat similart to mine (raised a JW, baptized young, losing or could lose entire family).
I know that this entire thing sounds kind of cold and detached, like a secretary or something, but I'm going through a very bad depression right now (medical depression, not "the blues"), and emotional detatchment as well as keeping things compartmentalized is the only way I can keep sane right now- I feel like I'm living a lie - like a spy undercover or something. Everytime I go to a meeting I know everthing about this is wrong, yet I give comments and the like just to keep peace. I feel sick- I think I hate myself. Somebody please help give me some advice and help me make a plan- my life sucks.