I'm a 38 year old man who's seen too much. Too much hypocrisy. Too much apathy. Too much self-righteous arrogance. Too much guilt. Too many broken promises.I grew up in the so-called truth and I never felt like I was part of the "family". Most friendships and congregational relationships have been tenuous, shallow and temporary.
It seems to me that I had three strikes against me from the start:
1. My parents are both immigrants and my mother still speaks with a heavy accent. Despite JW's claims of being caring, loving and non-discriminitory, my family, for the most part, was left out in the cold. (Mom is still in denial about that.)
2. My dad never accepted the JW religion, leaving spiritual matters entirely to my mom. Among many in the congregation, I must have been seen as a bastard child (spiritually speaking) and because of this they treated me accordingly.
3. I had an un-diagnosed case of ADHD, leaving others free reign to ascribe unto me all sorts of negative motives, character flaws and moral failings.
Despite what most thought, I wasn't a "bad kid". I did poorly in school while JW children are expected to be perfectly behaved academic achievers. I had few friends either inside or outside of the congregation. Occasionally someone would try to take me under their wing but it would never work out. After enduring a childhood filled with isolation, loneliness, bitterness and depression, I had enough. I stopped attending when I was 17. I didn't go wild though: no drinking, drugs or sex.
Because of ADHD, I graduated high school with an inferior GPA, lousy social skills and poor prospects. I had no social network, thanks to my time with the JW's. I collapsed even deeper into depression. I spent years navigating a maze of inadequate social services. I had one lousy job after another and couldn't live independently. For too long I was at the mercy of my parent's good graces which put the kibosh on any romantic aspirations. Over time I started finding steady employment and a midling sense of self esteem.
In contrast, my younger sisters have done well for themselves. They were perfect little angels in school and in the KH. They studied, progressed and got baptised in their mid teens according to accepted practice. They moved out and married young to a couple of nice "brothers". They're still happily married. They have lots of friends. Life is good... for them.
Eventually I started to get sucked back in by my mom and sisters. Maybe life would be better if I gave Jehovah another chance. I started to study and got baptized at 28. I started to gain friendships. I got a good job and my own appartment. There were romantic possibilities. Life seemed to be on an upswing. The world was my burrito.
Unaddressed problems started to surface. Living the single life and the rigours of personal study and field service was almost all I could tolerate but people were pressuring me to advance spiritually and be a MS, take on even more "priveleges". I started to feel guilt over various things I wasn't doing good enough, "bad" things that I couldn't give up on and new "bad" habits creeping up. Negative thoughts and paranoia started creeping in. I was feeling like a fraud. Peolple in my peer group started avoiding me. I felt like I was merely being TOLERATED, no longer loved. Friends either moved away or just drifted away. The small handfull left would mindlessly stick up for the rest of the cong who was ignoring me. I'll admit it: I wasn't a perfect angel. I just couldn't bring myself to confess my "secret sins" to any elder. I just coundn't stand to disappoint them and humiliate myself. And something just felt wrong.
The congregation was troubled as well. Apathy abounded. "Lesser ones" were being ignored. My cong was always coming up short when it came to hospitality for visiting speakers despite contant urgings from the elder body. There were tighly knit cliques that just couldn't be broken. Lots young people living corrupt double lives yet thinking they were better than most others. Several spectacular divorce scandals rocked the local congregations over the years, elder's marriages being casualties as well. Yet all seemed fine to overseers because of good numbers. It all made me so sick. I got into arguements with my family over my feelings about this. I could no longer see the positive.
One final romantic dissapointment of many was merely the last straw. I again slid into depression. My meeting attendance and FS eventually went to zero. A brother befriended me and tried to play the hero, wanting to be the one who brought me back from the brink of spiritual death. He tried pressuring me back into FS but I no longer had the heart for it. I started doing to the cong what they were doing to me. I avoided THEM. They tried calling, texting, emailing, knocking. Some went so far as casing out my house to catch me coming home or going out, which I found especially upsetting. I crawled under my rock and didn't come out until recently.
Looking back, I'm sure my intuition was telling me something. I think I would have been railroaded if I had confessed anything to the elders 'cuz they are not the good guys. JW's are not as loving, supportive and forgiving as advertized. I just can't play by all their rules. There's so many shoulda, coulda, woulda's that it makes my head hurt.
Now I'm looking at moving away from my hometown of 30 years because there's too many bad memories, as well as there being more practical reasons. I'm seeking a diagnosis for my ADHD. I haven't given up my belief in God but right now we're not on speaking terms. I've lost all stomach for religion, especially christianity. I'm feeling a little lost. My mom and sisters are still in the GB's grip and I don't want to rock the boat. I'll just keep drifting away.
Appologies for my Magnum Opus of a post here. If there seems to be a lot of whining, I'm sorry for that too. I'm new here and I still have a lot to say. Thanks for your time.