Thanks again talesin. You are a good woman. A caring person. Its a shame the ORG. can't look past it's corporate legalistic agenda and see some of the good people it loses. Wait a minute, let's not forget all the other BS. Yea, disregard that last comment.peace. paulnotsaul
Trying to Salvage a Friendship
Quendi, keep us posted. I hope all goes well! peace. paulnotsaul
paul, I'm glad you're talking to us ...
my personal mantra,,, fyi ...
"and a rock feels no pain; and an island never dies"
you are not alone.
This is one of those threads you kick yourself for finding too late . . .
It strikes a powerful chord with me because I too lost my best friend 10 years ago to suicide . . . probably the finest man I will ever know in my life. There is so much I could say to him now, because we could talk about anything . . . absolutely anything. At times we could even cry together . . . few men ever do that. He leaves a vast gap in my life I will take to my grave. He should never have been a JW . . . he was way too good for them. And it was being JW that killed him. I've lost several friends this way . . . but he was different.
So I can identify with Paul, Tal . . . all of you.
Quendi . . . I think what you're doing is right . . . even if it ultimately brings pain and disappointment. It would be nice to be able to say "I did all I possibly could" . . . so do all you possibly can. You have a lovely way with words. My only thoughts would be to steer well clear of the JW side of things . . . as much as you can anyway. Try and break through to the "authentic personality" without bringing the "cult personality" to the fore.
There is absolutely nothing to lose that you don't have already. If you did have some success . . . well . . . somehow you would make me feel so much better. All the best to you.
I want to share what happened when I finally met "Evan" again after a six-year hiatus. Before I begin, I want to thank one and all for their love, support, counsel, and encouragement in this matter. I have learned a lot, and I hope that by relating this experience on this board others may benefit.
First, I should state "Evan's" real name. It is Mark and we have been friends since 1981. In fact, he was the very first friend I made when I moved to Colorado. When I rang the doorbell, his mother answered. She did not recognize me at first. I have lost more than sixty pounds since she last laid eyes on me so I look very different. She is also now in her early eighties and her memory is beginning to fail. After several seconds, she finally knew me and welcomed me inside. She then went to awaken Mark. Mark's reaction, upon seeing me was to give me a long, bone-crushing hug, and he told me how glad he was to see me once more. I then gave him my "peace offering" of the Colorado scenic roads booklet. He eagerly accepted it.
After exchanging such news as we had, the conversation took a decidedly sharp turn. Mark has been disfellowshipped. He is working toward reinstatement. He and his mother Verna asked me how much progress I was making toward that same goal. I wasn't expecting this question. In fact, I thought we would engage in about fifteen minutes of small talk before making plans to meet at another time and place where we could discuss heavier matters. After thinking about my reply I told them both that I had abandoned all efforts to come back.
The next ninety minutes were very interesting. They couldn't believe that I no longer wanted to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses. They tried their best to convince me that I was making a huge mistake. They asked me what was the root of my decision. I told them I no longer believed the WTS was God's organization. Furthermore, that organization was teaching falsehoods about God and his purposes, and I refused to participate in that kind of work. Mark then told me that I had succumbed to arrogance and pride, thinking I knew better than the men leading the organization. I countered by saying that those men had made innumerable mistakes and so could not be trusted. They said that they were only "imperfect men" and mistakes were bound to happen. I replied that if they were really led by holy spirit, as they claimed, they would not make such mistakes because Jesus had said that same holy spirit would lead them into all the ways of the truth, not merely some.
That will give you an idea of what happened during this phase of my call. Poor Verna got quite upset, telling me that I was an APOSTATE and should leave immediately. Mark, however, was much more calm. He repeated his assertion that I had succumbed to pride, but I told him it was very interesting that he could not point to any Bible verses to back up WTS teaching while I could freely quote to support my positions. He conceded that but still insisted on saying that we had to follow the "faithful and discreet slave" regardless of where it went. If mistakes were made, we had to wait on Jehovah to correct them.
I suppose what struck me most about this part of our visit was the fact that truly for the first time I could see how perverted, backward, and accursed the reasoning the WTS uses is. It's one thing to recognize the cult uses brainwashing techniques. It is good to admit those techniques worked on us and others. But for me it was entirely different to see how strong the grip the WTS exerts truly is. Here I was watching one of my closest friends, who himself was disfellowshipped, defend the practices, tenets, doctrines, and specious reasonings of the WTS. I felt sick at heart to observe this.
Had things ended on that note, I would have left with a very heavy heart. Instead, after long debate, Mark turned the current of our talk to another direction that lasted for another hour. We recalled old times, all the things we had done together, the love we three had and still have for each other. Mark told me that he had received my card and was very grateful for it. I reminded Verna how she had always treated me as her "fourth son", and that the love and affection I felt for her had not diminished at all. I still wanted to maintain contact, I said, but I would leave that up to them. Before leaving, I told them both, "You have my e-mail address and my phone number. Should you need anything, ANYTHING at all, please do not hesitate to call me. I'll come running." I do not think they expected to hear this from me, especially since the last thing Mark said to me was how I should carefully reconsider my positions on things lest I wind up rejecting Christ's ransom sacrifice and losing eternal life. I let him have the last word, saying, "On that note, I will say goodbye." We hugged and kissed each other one last time, and then I walked out and drove home.
So it was a "mixed bag" of a visit. I really don't know what to make of it. I think the deep feelings Mark still has for me are now in a state of confusion since he has heard me renounce the WTS in no uncertain terms. I feel I could not have done otherwise. I don't doubt he will continue his efforts to get reinstated, although he was quite uncomfortable when I condemned the entire judicial proceeding as unscriptural. "You won't find that in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Nor will you see any of the star chamber tactics the Society uses outlined anywhere in Holy Writ," I had said.
As for my feelings, I am very glad that I took everyone's advice and went to see my old friend. Where does our friendship stand now? I really don't know. But I felt it was important that I share my thoughts with him and allow him to see where I was in my spiritual development. I am sorry he is still a "company man", but I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. I can only hope that I planted some seeds that will get watered, then sprout, and finally bear flower and fruit. One thing I will say is that at no time did I ever raise my voice, interrupt Mark or Verna while they were speaking, or mock anything they said. I believe that made a good impression.
It's now up to Mark. He knows how to reach me, and I believe he will mull over our talk for a long time. In the end, he may decide to stick with the organization. When his mother Verna expressed the hope that we might talk again, I told her I would be glad to do so at any time. "And," I added, " we need not bring up religion. For that is a subject on which I believe we can only agree to disagree." She gave a weak smile in response before I said my farewells to both.
Quendi, I'm so jazzed you got to see mark. Wow man, what a visit. His mom almost thru a monkey wrench in your stay. I think it was a sucess, though. He truly missed you. Time will tell how much he wants to respond back to you. You came in peace and you left in peace. He knows where you stand. I do have to wonder if you are the only friend to visit since his DF. I wish you well. Your head should feel a little clearer. PeaceQuendi paulnotsaul
Thanks for your good wishes, paulnotsaul. I'm happy with the way things turned out despite the sometimes contentious talk. It could have gone very badly. The next move is up to Mark. I'd like to believe that he will want to see me again despite the religious gulf that has opened. I am happy that I let him know that my commitment to our friendship is unconditional. Maybe that will help him to do likewise.
I am glad you did this. It's not closure yet, but you know you did your part to salvage a friendship and you offered your hand in peace.
I doubt Mark will just forget about it. It will be on his mind. If he ever does have some stumbling blocks caused by doubt or Watchtower, he'll know you are there for him.
Thanks for sharing.
I'm glad that you went to see your friend... So sorry to hear that he's still under Watchtower control, tho.
But at least you physically demonstrated that "apostates" don't have two heads, horns, or breathe fire... [and that coming from a She-Devil!!]
I would hope that two things happen in Mark's life...
That the congregation shows him their 'love' in the same manner as has been shown to so many other JWs who woke up and finally left..
And that his mom has a peaceful, quiet passing - soon - because her stake in the Watchtower Society may be a major contributing factor to his efforts to be reinstated...
In other words, if it wouldn't simply break his mother's heart, he would probably just walk away, too...
I'm an atheist, and didn't really want to be indoctrinated with biblical sayings when I was being beaten and bullied into the JW cult, so I can't quote scripture and verse on this next comment, but...
Isn't there some scripture - many scriptures - about continuing to reach out to those who are blinded or misguided?? I'm thinking about the story of the prodical son, too - but maybe you could think of him as the "prodigal friend", instead.
I hope that Mark eventually wakes up and looks you up.