I had to take notes or meetings usually bored me to tears. This was especially so at the conventions. I always hoped for something new to be revealed. I ended up with a running list that became a folder, in my mind, of things that made me go hmmmmmmmmmm. And well, eventually I collapsed in exhaustion from their burdens making my already overwhelming life unbearable. I became inactive, and then over the next nearly decade, I pondered the contents of that brain folder until I ended up leaving in mind, too.
Did You Ever Really Listen At The Meetings?
ahhhh yes, inactivity is a precursor to spiritual darkness.
Minimus minimizes most concisely:
"so.....if you DO pay attention, there's a good chance you'll say bye-bye."
I did pay attention to the meetings. That's how I retain all that crap after 30 years. Also, being a reader type I read everything eagerly.
In reference to your above statement I still remeber, after 30 years, a particular issue of the Watchtower that had made an impression on me. I believe it was the January 1 st , 1979 Watchtower, page 31, "Questions from Readers".
I was in my apartment having just received the magazine from the mail. I was wrapped up folded in a brown paper sleeve. I would usually tear the wrapper like a Christmas present right away (In fact it must have been late December). I still remember the position I was standing in. I was a few feet from the dining room table, my back turned to catch the sunlight streaming through the windows.
I went to the Questions from Readers section (probably because it was the shortest quickest to read thing). The question, briefly worded, asked if Jehovah's Witnesses who join the YMCA should be Disfellowshipped. The long winded, rambling answer went into the evils of Christendom; its correlation with the name YMCA; finally concluding in the official answer. YES. I vaguely remember saying to myself, I've got to get out (of the Organ- ization.
I was disfellowshipped the following year, almost to the week.
To this day, when I think of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the song from the Village People-YMCA-gets stuck in my head. And if I continue thinking about the Witnesses I daydream and rewrite the song in my head the song in my head. I imagine a Judicial Committee right before that song being introduced by a voice saying; "And now Presenting the Village Idiots!". The rewrite consists of the elders telling a young Witness that he can't join the Y.
It is one of the many ironies of life that this song became a hit in January 1979 when that BitchTower issue came out.
Now if I seem to have digressed big time from the original question, my apologies. But it really is an answer to the question above.
Did you ask if I paid attention at the meetings! (and readings)!
OF COURSE I WAS PAYING ATTENTION TO ALL THAT CRAP!
HAVEN'T YOU NOTICED BY NOW THAT I'M NUT'S?
Minimus: Did You Ever Really Listen At The Meetings?
Sure did. That's why I am here. [cringe: waits for first egg to hit]
I paid more attention at the beginning. But, once I realized that everything fit a particular pattern and almost never deviated, I also realized I knew more than enough about the story line to know it was about the end coming at some indefinite time in the future. I also reasoned that, with the end "close" and "getting closer", it could still never get here. The whole thing became obvious that it was mathematically, not just humanly, impossible for me to meet the standards (from realizing that it is mathematically impossible for me to do more than myself plus kids, and Jehovah was expecting that by keeping the opposite sex away from me).
Additionally, I realized that I would be better off outside whether it was the truth or not. Getting destroyed would be better than living through, seeing a world with nothing but men in it, and feeling guilty because my insistence on getting in is what drove the opposite sex out. Now that would have been a bigger guilt trip than all the "You're not doing enough" 's from all the hounders put together. And so I went to my first apostate web site on purpose, and then I started paying attention--to the fact that it is all lies.
The only things remembered were the funnies or the faux pas. The rest was just same ole' same ole'
Interesting how most didn't pay attention early on (the meetings obviously so mind-numbingly boring) but as they started "waking up" or stopped suppressing their thoughts they did start paying attention.
That was my case as well, I started actually listening and realizing what was being said. The public talks ceased being "public" and became directed at JW's. The TMS was mostly useless. The Service meeting was either a sales seminar or a guilt trip about not doing enough, no matter what was going on in your personal life.
Like Undercover said so well, when a scripture was read, I would read the context around it. Most of the time the "point" being made didn't jibe. Especially the use of isolated verses in the Hebrew bible to apply to whatever the point they were trying to make was.