Notverylikely--This is a very emotional post. Thank you for sharing.
The more judicial committees I read about, the more of the same things I see. The elders would probably not care at all about truly serious sins if you're guilty of heretical thinking. This is similar to my own committee. I didn't give them all the details of what I did, or all the circumstances surrounding it.
I, of course, was guilty of fornication--one time in a bad relationship where the person was emotionally abusive and controlling, then I cheated and broke off the relationship, to be with the person I later married. I felt awful about how things happened, and accepted my guilt as you've accepted yours. The previous relationship was a very bad one and was really a case of someone who just wanted money and didn't want to work, but had enormous bills she wanted me to pay. And wouldn't take no for an answer. It reached a point where I just couldn't deal with it, but failed to speak up for myself and break it off before bad things like cheating happened. But I owned up to it and didn't keep that from her, broke it off immediately once that happened.
I was also guilty of fornication with the woman who became my wife. We both kept it a secret for months, and she finally confessed it. They let her off with private reproof and she was commenting at meetings a month later. I was deemed 'unrepentant' for withholding the name of the non-JW I was involved with.
But I overheard the chairman practically shouting that he didn't want apostates in the congregation, so no matter how you spin it, we all know it was apostasy I was DF'd for, not fornication, as I was clearly married at this point and have not continued to commit fornication. I'm coming up on a year of being fornication-free, in fact. But that doesn't matter, of course--only loyalty to the organization matters.
The reason people here haven't much felt a need to condemn you over the adultery is because the people sitting in judgment of you were willing to overlook things far more serious, things that have not only resulted in mass amounts of bloodguilt, but have misled millions of innocent people with empty promises. Marriages can be complicated; trust me, I know. I don't doubt that you feel just as guilty as I have about stuff you did. I share that kind of pain and it's something that hangs over your head for a long time. I'm sorry it came to that for you, I really am.
I've had a really rocky road in my marriage, and certainly had thoughts of cheating myself, but they were thoughts only, that never translated into actions, and I never gave them an opportunity to. I could have chosen that road, but I felt that that wasn't something my conscience could bear. More importantly, I loved my wife and knew I couldn't look her in the face and admit to something like that. It'd break my heart more than anything else. I learned the effects of cheating before I got married, and...I'd rather just part ways without bringing that into things if it does come to divorce someday. I hope it doesn't. But I can see the kind of dilemma you were faced with. So as Clintonesque as it sounds, I feel your pain on that.
It makes me sad. In a way, this is an object lesson in what is the primary flaw in an organization-centric philosophy. Once people fully understand that the organization has nothing magical or supernatural associated with itself, they often find themselves with a moral compass that is severely damaged. It causes people to make choices that are really painful for themselves and others. No, not directly, but certainly indirectly. We still had the power to choose better paths, but waking up is so painful that...things happen, bad things that we might otherwise never have done. I consider that the Society shares some blame for that. I wouldn't blame them for your mistakes or mine, because that would be passing the buck. But I do believe that they encourage us to put too much faith in the system, the routine, and obedience through fear, rather than a true sense of loyalty to a standard that is higher than any group of men can concoct.
All the way around, this is a heartbreaking tale. I feel sad that this happened to you and your family. I hope that the wounds inflicted in this mess will heal in time, for everyone involved.