Steve2 says it tough, but I'm with him. Young adults in their mid-twenties are working out who they are - separate from their parents. You push them hard, and they will run in the other direction. Unfortunate that your non-conformist is running right in to the arms of conformity.
There's plenty of hope, and I'll tell you why in a moment.From now on I want you to celebrate your daughter's independence and ability to make smart choices...even if it is in to the arms of the Witnesses. You are going to become her biggest fan. Sure, you are going to have to choke down your fears and cynicism. But I want you to have the long view. After their twenties comes the thirties, and real maturity. You want to keep the communication lines open for when she is ready to leave the society.
Would you say a young woman who gets pregnant at 21 and forgoes college, that her life is over? Harder, yes. Not nearly over.
How about a mentally ill young man who hits the streets hard and gets addicted to drugs? Hellishly hard, but he dragged his way back. With the communication lines with his mom still intact, known that he is loved, but finally admitting that his lifestyle was killing him.
A star athlete who in a freak accident, is paralyzed from the waist down?
As much as we want to save our children from all pain, people do suffer big setbacks. The ones who thrive are those who reframe their future on the new reality, and move on. You can help them when they are ready, not before. You might not be able to prevent some big mistakes. It is critical, though, that you do not transfer your biggest fears on them. Because they absolutely must believe that they have the inner reserves to overcome any obstacle.
Here are some tips for what may be coming:
- Ask to be there for the baptism. Take photos. Take her out for dinner afterwards, and be happy for her. Keep criticism at bay. [The reason I suggest this is that very often the baptism separates the cultist even farther from their family. If you are part of it, you keep the lines of communication open. You also insert a bit of reality without a word.]
- Ask your daughter when she might be given her first speaking part. Ask to attend. Be happy for her.
- Be random in your visits to the Kingdom Hall with big breaks in between. Don't give those pioneers any gleam in their eye.
- When you attend a meeting, hold back on your criticism. Give non-committal answers. Your daughter is smart. What you have been saying, she has been thinking. In the past, she depended on you to voice the criticism so she could rebut it. See if you can get her to admit to the tiniest fault (i.e. boring?).
- If your daughter ever tries to evangelize you, be very firm and direct. "You know me. Do you really want to know why I am not interested?" and "Do you really think I am under the influence of evil? How about your old friend, "xxx"? Be the reality check.
- Invite her witness friend over for tea. Ask that it be informal, just getting to know each other, no religion please. Witnesses can be very pleasant when they take off the cult persona. This is a pre-emptive strike because very soon this friend will no longer informally visit you, because you aren't interested in a book study. The conditional friendliness will become apparent over time.
Very common advice on this board is to delay baptism for children of Witnesses, because the consequences will be so dramatic if they get disfellowshipped. That marvellous independence in the twenties is stifled, forestalled. Your daughter is a convert, with different rules. When she leaves, she runs in to the welcoming arms of her family. Make sure she knows that you are there for her always.