Whoa! Grandchildren? I don't have grandchildren. Also, as lovely as it is to receive such sympathetic posts, I'd hate for anyone to misunderstand my situation. I'd say I've 'faded' quite successfully in that I managed to extricate myself, my wife and our children from the cult over a period of a few years in the early 00s'.
We haven't been to any meetings/conventions/field service etc for years! The problem relationships are with my JW brother and two sisters, their respective JW spouses and my JW mother. All are committed dubs, no 'fringe' JW's here.
Three years ago, despite eight years of absence from the Kingdom Hall, I received a 'phone call. My local elders had found a short article I'd written and decided to disfellowship me - no Judicial Committee was required as the article was considered proof that I had disassociated myself.
I know the procedures the elders have to follow and, to cut a very long story short, after sending two letters and insisting on a Judicial hearing I managed to avoid being disfellowshipped. The thing is, I had to tell a few lies to those elders to get the result I wanted. I HATED doing that, but I did not want to lose my Mum, sisters and kid brother.
So I managed to wangle a private reproof - great!
Except that my sisters, who I love dearly, KNEW that I'd lied to the elders. My youngest sister in particular was having a real crisis of conscience over this. She phoned me in tears, distraught and stressed, asking that I go back to the elders and "come clean". I told her I wouldn't do that and asked her to think very carefully before she decided to do anything. After giving me a few days, my sisters met up with the elders and told them that I'd been lying in my Judicial Committee hearing.
Can you imagine the unbelievable strain this was putting on my wife, my Mum, sisters, brothers, in-laws, cousins and everyone else in our large family!! It was a horrible nightmare I never wish to revisit. My wife lost weight, even my daughter - 14 years old at the time - was excused from school in tears on one particularly bad day.
So I'm called in front of two elders again. They are nice guys, we used to have a good rapport when I was an active JW and despite everything there is still some 'fellow feeling' between us. After eight weeks of dealing with this they have lost the stomach for any further action (they know I won't go down easily). They decide that as it's my fleshly sisters accusing me of lying (but not bringing specific enough charges against me) that if we can settle things between ourselves they would be content to draw a line under the whole story.
So I meet up with my sisters, their husbands, my brother and my Mum. My wife came with me. It was awful, I was on trial by my own family. There were tears, raised voices, phone calls to elders, the whole lot.
That was three years ago. Relationships are slowly healing. I only went through all that because I love my family and don't want to lose them but I WILL NEVER PUT MY WIFE, MYSELF OR MY CHILDREN THROUGH ANYTHING LIKE THAT AGAIN!
So that's where I am - not disfellowshipped.
Now, I've forgiven my sisters for what they did - I love them. But I wonder if it's all really worth it. Association with my family happens but it's 'prickly'. Everyone is walking on eggshells around me, prayers NEVER happen in my presence, I sense that anything I say is being analysed with suspicion. I'm tolerated, I'm an 'issue'.
There's a huge f**king elephant always standing 2ft behind my left shoulder. Everyone knows he's there but no-one dares to mention him. I'm the bad association who'll spoil their useful habits. I'm weak. I'm not of their sort.
Well. Sorry for the long rant . . . .