Trying to Salvage a Friendship

by Quendi 54 Replies latest jw experiences

  • truthseeker


    That was an amazing story and you told it beautifully. You have a way with words.

    I too have lost a friend in death, my only true friend - he died suddenly in his sleep.

    I had another friend who I reached out to a couple of months ago. We have not spoken for over 10 years. I wrote to this individual via Facebook - I had hoped to receive some sort of reply but there was nothing.

    You win some you lose some. Sometimes, those who leave want absolutely nothing to do with the org no matter how many friends they had.

    I am glad you had some success getting reaquainted with your friend, but now a door has been opened and you may be left with more questions than answers.

    Good luck!


  • Ding

    It's truly amazing how thoroughly the WT convinces JWs they have "the truth" even in the face of a mountain of evidence of their false prophecies and doctrinal flip-flops.

    Somehow they can't see that they are blindly following fallible men whose record for incorrectly predicting the end is -- as far as I can see -- unmatched in human history.

    I'm glad there is still a possibility that your friendship will win out over this organization.

    It seems to me that you are doing all you can to make this a reality.

    The rest is up to Mark.

  • Quendi

    I want to make a few replies.


    I am so sorry for your loss. I know the pain, the void that cannot be filled when your best friend kills himself. It has been twenty-five years since I lost Tom and I still grieve. Thankfully, I have been able to move on with my life thanks to the love I received from others. Nobody can take Tom's place, but the friends I have met and loved since he died have made me realize all the more how precious and wonderful life is. I have met some great people on this board and they have helped me in ways they can't imagine.

    The visit turned out about as well as I had any reason to expect, given the circumstances. I think Mark was glad to relive old times: our "buddy trips" through Colorado's glorious mountains; camping trips; hopes and joys we had shared down through the years; and things like that. He hasn't done anything like that since our separation, he told me. It was quite clear that he wanted to do those things with me again.


    I want to thank you, my friend, for your advice in this matter. You helped me to realize how important it was for my continued growth and advancement that I seek out Mark and determine the status of our relationship. You are right to say that I have not yet attained closure. However, I feel my visit made a deep impression on him. Since he is now disfellowshipped himself, he is being shunned by the congregation despite attending the meetings faithfully. I hope he realized that my visiting him last Sunday was an expression of my unconditional love for him and his mother as well, and that my offer of assistance was sincere. That's more than he'll get from the congregation, even if he is reinstated.

    I also think that by exposing the WTS record on not just Bible prophecy but also its wrong-headed interpretation of the Bible, it will make Mark think long and hard about why he is putting faith in this counterfeit. The expressions on his face were very interesting. I could see that he was shocked when I asked him to show me anywhere in the Bible where the number 2,520 could be found. How could the parable of the Prodigal Son be reconciled with the WTS star chamber proceedings? If the WTS still believed that Christ had returned in 1874, why would Jesus appoint them his "faithful and discreet slave" seeing they were completely wrong on that point as the Society itself admits? Those are questions he will find difficult to dismiss as the ravings of some wild-eyed "apostate".

    @Black Sheep:

    Thanks for your support in this. I hope my experience can be of some use to you in the future.


    I like what you said about how my visit demonstrated to both Mark and his mother that just because someone disagrees with the WTS doesn't mean they are the embodiment of evil. I think they were surprised by the calm way I made my points. The only arguments they could muster was the reason I had turned my back on the Society was because I had been abused by my judicial committee. They admitted I had every right to be angry about my treatment at their hands, but that shouldn't make me bitter against the organization. They didn't want to answer my question about how these proceedings differed widely from congregation to congregation. "If this is a 'spirit-directed' organization, why is there such inconsistency in so grave and serious a matter as a judicial committee procedure?" I asked. The only answer they could give was that the elders are "imperfect men".

    I think you are right that the main reason Mark is seeking reinstatement is for his mother's sake. Verna has been a Witness since 1943 and has seen her eldest son disfellowshipped. Losing Mark would absolutely break her heart. Mark knows this also. So I believe that is the real reason for seeking reinstatement. Yes, he did mention how he believes we are definitely living in the "last days". But what I thought very curious was he never talked about love for God and Christ as a reason for wanting to be reinstated. It is clear that fear, fear of hurting his mother and fear of death at Armageddon, is the chief motivator for him.

    As I said above, I also think my visit stood in stark contrast to his treatment in the congregation. I know his congregation. It was the first one I associated with when I came to Boulder thirty years ago. So I know he is being shunned and receiving little if any encouragement. He has to be thinking about my unconditional offer of love and affection as opposed to the congregation's neglect. Thanks for the suggestion to find some scriptures that talk about how we should reach out to the blind and misguided for Mark and his mother definitely are. I'll see what I can find and get back to you.


    I am also sorry for your loss. Thank you for your kind words about my writing ability, such as it is. You're right to say we win some, lose some. The outcome of this situation lies in Mark's hands. The key for me will be patience. As ziddina said, his mother will have a big influence on him. As long as she is alive, I don't think Mark will fully reestablish ties with me. The WTS has made it plain how the disfellowshipped should be viewed and treated, and Mark doesn't want to rock the boat. For me, it is enough that we have at least reestablished contact and Mark knows how to reach me.


    You're absolutely right, my friend, to marvel at how tightly the WTS controls its members despite its many demonstrable and abject failures. I can only hope that not only Mark, but the other friends and family I have who are still trapped in this disgusting cult will "see the light" and make good their escape. When and if they do, I hope to be on hand to help them in the healing process.


  • talesin

    Quendi, that was quite a visit! Mark now knows he is loved UNCONDITIONALLY. And it means a lot to him. We heard that over and over growing up, but a lot of us didn't know the meaning of it until we left, and met people outside the KH. You have given him a great gift.

    Mark's reaction, upon seeing me was to give me a long, bone-crushing hug

    Those are the hugs I give my friends when I so need them. Because I know they love me. After all the others abandoned him (DF), who shows up at his door? YOU. I would be willing to bet it was one of the best things that happened to him in a long time. Your visit accomplished a lot. It affirmed a life-long bond of friendship for both of you. It gave Mark valuable information about the corruption within the WTS in a nonconfrontational manner. And it let him know that he has at least ONE person, who will ALWAYS be there for him, no matter what.

    Zid could very well be right about him staying for his mom, too. And I can understand that.

    Sometimes we don't get to see people, and that happens for a lot of reasons in RL,,, people move away, they have families and get very wrapped up in life,, but there are certain friends that, even though we may not keep in touch, the love never dies.

    It seems to me, that is the kind of friendship you and Mark have. Come what may, you know that in your heart.

    The rest of your story is kinda amazing. You kept your cool and logic, and when things started to go ugly, turned it around. Mark's mom sounds like a good person who, in spite of her strong JW belief system, backed off and let you guys have your time together. You gave her a good 'witness', too, about loyalty and ethics - you (respectfully) didn't back down on your position re JWS, and clearly told her how much she meant to you. No double-talk, lies, or pretending. Good on ya.

    About your writing, I concur! You really are a good communicator,,, :)


  • compound complex
    compound complex

    What has come to mind, Quendi, while reading all the comments posted to this heart-rending thread is that love, common sense, patience prevail in any circumstance. The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, mildness, self-control, goodness, ...

    against these things there is no law.

    Given what the Holy Spirit has declared, no man nor entity shall impinge upon our God-given right to reach out and help someone in need. I rarely have allowed an individual's status in the organization (i.e., disfellowshiped) to stop me from doing what I felt enjoined to do. Never have I seen bad come from taking a leap of faith and helping a fellow human being. Simple humanity and chucking our onetime quiet and obedient consent to the Society permit all manner of good works to operate.

    I'm glad that the support you've received led you to this totally justifiable action and happy outcome.

    CoCo qui croit


  • Quendi


    I want to thank you most of all, my dear friend, for your insight. You were the one who suggested the message for the card I sent to Mark. You were the one who counseled me about the approach to take when talking to him. Your help has been invaluable throughout this entire business, and I would be sorely remiss not to thank you from the very bottom of my heart! Blessings upon you now and into the future.

    I can now only let time take its course. I believe that Mark will eventually reach out to me again. I may have to wait until his mother passes away, or some emergency arises and he has no one else to ask for help. Whatever happens, I am content that I let him know that my love is indeed unconditional. I believe in the end that knowledge will mean more to him than anything he may gain from his reinstatement.


    Thank you as well for your thoughts. I suppose that this experience has taught me that "love never fails." I sought Mark again to express my love for him, and I have been amply rewarded. I hope that both Mark and Verna were able to see how true love works and compare that with the barren and empty feelings the WTS has fostered among its people. The fruits of the holy spirit can be cultivated by all of us. The WTS has led its people to berlieve that they alone have them and can understand them. Maybe Mark and Verna will realize how untrue that is.

    None of this would have happened if I had not asked for the help of those on this board. "There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk, but in the multitude of counselors there is accomplishment." That ancient advice from Proverbs 15:22 certainly proved true in this situation. As you said, CoCo, the support I received led to "this totally justifiable action and happy outcome." The seeds have now been planted, and I will wait patiently for them to sprout and bear fruit.

    My friends, I ask God's blessing upon all of you!


  • Quendi

    Hello All!

    I haven't been posting much, but I wanted to revive this thread with an update. To give a short synopsis, I started this discussion to solicit advice and reaction about my efforts to revive the friendship I had with a Witness named Mark whom I have known for more than thirty years. We last saw each other in July 2011 when I paid a surprise visit on him and his mother. Our conversation was very heated at first because neither one of them were happy when I told them I would never return to Jehovah's Witnesses. But after that initial confrontation and subsequent argument, matters settled down and we had an encouraging talk.

    Much has happened in the thirty-month span since that meeting. I lived for nearly a year in Alabama and cared for my mother. In January 2013, I moved back to Colorado and have found work as a high school math teacher in suburban Denver. I'm recovering economically and have done well in my new job. For my friend Mark, however, matters have gone from bad to worse. When we last spoke face-to-face, Mark was disfellowshipped but was actively seeking reinstatement. After I returned to Colorado, I inquired about him through a few mutual friends. He had dropped off everyone's radar and I could learn nothing about him. I had a long debate with myself about how I should proceed.

    I decided to ask friends to contact his mother. She will be 84 in March and her memory is failing. When my friends asked about Mark, she gave evasive answers but their nature told me that Mark was in some kind of trouble. Finally, I called her myself. Before doing so, however, I followed the advice of a friend in the church I now attend and checked on the Internet for some information. That is where I learned that my fears were true. Mark is in jail although I do not know how he got there and for how long he has been incarcerated.

    When I talked to Mark's mom, she had completely forgotten that I am disfellowshipped and so she talked to me like the old family friend I have been for more than thirty years. She gave me Mark's cellphone number but wouldn't disclose his whereabouts. So I called him and left a message. After waiting two days for a reply, I decided to call again and finally talked to him on New Year's Day. To say he was surprised to hear from me was an understatement. However, he was silent about his situation and I chose not to bring it up, telling him instead that I would respect his refusal to talk about it. I did not mention that I already knew where he was.

    My primary message to him was that I wanted him to realize that I still counted him as a friend. I told him that I missed him and loved him and wanted to see him when his circumstances would allow this. I also told him that he could call me for any reason whatsoever, and that I would look in on his mother from time to time as well. I know that the congregation has failed to do much for her in that regard. Mark was happy to hear that I wanted to do this. We talked a little bit about old times and I repeated my offer of help and assistance. Then we said goodbye.

    I don't know if I'll hear from him soon. At the very least, however, he knows that I'm out there and haven't abandoned him. I don't know how long he has been in jail or the length of his sentence. I'd like to visit him when my own circumstances allow, but I don't know how that can be arranged. I suppose if I contact the jail I can get that information. In any case, I am glad that I have made the effort to reach him again. He needs as many friends as he can get now, and I very much doubt the congregation elders have extended themselves in his direction. For all I know he never was reinstated, but even if he was, his jail term certainly would have meant that some kind of "discipline" would have been meted out to him. So I doubt the religion has been a source of comfort and strength to him.

    So that is how matters now stand. I wanted to share this with you and welcome your comments.


  • PaintedToeNail

    Quendi-You are a true friend. Very, very kind of you to offer to check on Mark's mother while he can't. I wish you were one of my friends, as we all can use an extra friend! Wishing you the very best there in Colorado.

  • Oubliette


    You're really a true friend. I think you handled it best by not revealing (for now at least) that you are aware of Mark's situation.

    Just being real and continuing to let him know you care is the best way to proceed: unconditional love. (You won't find that in any KH).


  • Quendi

    @PaintedToeNail: Thanks for your kind remarks. I'm sure that you will find the kind of friends you need. They are out there. I am glad that I know you and I want to wish you the very best in your life away from and out of the Witness cult.

    @Oubliette: You know how much I value your counsel and wisdom and I am deeply grateful for our friendship. I can only hope that Mark will be able to endure this trial. I also hope that he will seek me out after his release. I don't know what else I can do for him, but I hope that it will strengthen and support him.


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