The Real Issues Facing former Jehovah's Witnesses
As a JW I had a variety of friends, some didn't get along with each other but they both liked me. I love trying to see things from someone elses poinnt of view even if I don't agree. When I found this forum I knew it was the place for me since I love variety. I like having a place where I can still acknowledge the JW part of me. One day it may get old but being so wet behind the ears I need it.
I agree we all need to remember we can express our view without insisting it's the right one. That's key to the human race and this forum serves as a springboard into th outside world.
If I've ever come off as a troll or onesided I apologize. I apologize ahead of time for any mistakes in the future.
I love you guys... I've posted this video before but it expresses my feelings for this place I'll try to make this the last time
So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs,
We will never be never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and raise your glass,
Just come on and come on and raise your glass
First, I want to say how much I appreciate being a member of this forum. People have been very kind, loving, and sometimes tolerant of my sermons. They saw that as giving me "my space", I suppose; but whatever the reason I am grateful. Some have reached out to me with PMs that were good for me to read and think about. Others have responded to my posts and threads in such a way as to make me feel I am making a positive contribution here.
I emerged from my thirty-five year association with Jehovah's Witnesses wounded (like most of us here), but with my faith in both God and the Bible intact. That faith and the beliefs I now have have been considerably altered to the point where I know there is no returning to the organization for me. I was a young college student (just short of my twentieth birthday) when I got baptized, and had some critical thinking ability--or so I thought. But even though I had learned to think for myself to a degree, I was seduced by the siren song of the WTS organization and doctrines. Furthermore, I met people in the organization of high intellect, deep integrity, and strong character whose love, friendship, and association I will always miss.
I also must say that there are some things I gained as a Witness that were very good for me. I realize that for many, their experience in the WTS was bad. Mine was mostly positive in the skills and knowledge I acquired. The greatest harm I suffered was the denial of who I really was, and accepting WTS teaching that made me hate and despise myself. Getting out has allowed me the detoxification that is making a big difference now for me. That has allowed me to face those issues this thread has raised about what kind of life I want and with whom I want to share it.
I am definitely a theist and will always remain one, but I have enjoyed the company of those who are agnostic or atheist in this space. They have made me think anew about issues I had formerly believed settled in my own mind. They have also allowed me to practice the tolerance and open-mindedness that I did not as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I am glad I discovered this forum, and I hope it will continue to assist any and all who are in need of the counsel and people they will find here.
This forum isn't about helping... those looking for god, because this forum is mostly about JW's, and when you think about it, being a former JW is about leaving a god, not heading to a new one. So for you theists out there, show some respect and remember that, ok?
While I absolutely agree with the issues you listed, dear ATJ (the greatest of love and peace to you!)... I have to disagree with your assertion above, if for no other reason than the definition of the Board itself:
"The place to discuss anything relating to Jehovah's Witnesses and the WatchTower Bible and Tract Society..."
That statement itself literally invites discussion about God, does it not, given the supposed "purpose" of the WTBTS ("Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom")... and why some folks ARE Jehovah's Witnesses? No one would guess, without actually reviewing the topics (which can also be misleading)... and perhaps lurking... that discussion about God is NOT wanted. Even so, reviewing the topics themselves wouldn't necessarily give that impression... nor does all here have that position. I certainly don't.
The TRUTH is that dear Simon and Angharad (peace to you, both!) currently still ALLOW for such discussions. In addition, "being a former JW is about leaving a god," is inaccurate: I am a former JW (as are many here)... yet, it has NEVER been about leaving God. EVER. Nor was it about heading to a new one: that just happened on the journey (i.e., leaving "Jehovah"... because I found/was found by... JAH, through His Son). And while that may not be true of EVERYONE, it IS true for some, if not many.
So, I'm not sure the Board is what YOU perceive it to be, at least not yet. Just because unbelievers are CURRENTLY the most vocal doesn't mean they're the only ones here... or the only ones who count. Just based on the PMs I receive, there are MANY believers who lurk here. In that light, I think that until the Board definition itself changes, perhaps to something like:
"The place to discuss anything relating to Jehovah's Witnesses and the WatchTower Bible and Tract Society... EXCEPT God/Christ..."
we, believers and unbelievers... are pretty much just going to have to learn to TOLERATE one another. All of us doing so GENUINELY would help, but that's unlikely to happen, isn't it?
Perhaps it's time for some... if not all... of us to "show some respect" and remember that we ALL have different issues... and perhaps beliefs. Maybe we can do that by considering the wisdom in the statement:
"Live... and [just] LET live."
Again, peace to you... and may JAH bless!
YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,
This site helped me a lot also I first posted in 2010 I was so nervous even though I left in 2008 I do not want anybody to find out now I could care less.I starting to live life as I want to
I wouldn't have "progressed" this far (sorry about the Jdubism) without JWN's support and insight- I hope to pay it forward
Great thread...I feel the love
Even though I gave up a lot to leave JWs...I have gained so much more. Freedom...I never knew what it was. It sure wasn't what they told me it was.
I agree giving up on spirituality because one isn't a JW anymore is definitely throwing out the baby with the bathwater. But, atheists often possess a version of spirituality. Mindfulness, which many of them practice, is defined by many scholars of philosophy and divinity form of spirituality, whether people know it or not. It's caring for oneself and for humanitarian interests. You don't have to believe in god to be spiritual, or at least not the kind of spirituality I feel is innate and useful.
As a JW for nearly 30 years, I often had the nagging feeling that some of what I professed to believe was not quite true, or at least not exclusively true. The list of these things continued to grow but I was, like so many others, held captive by fear - fear of losing family and friends, fear of admitting I'd been wrong all those years. This kept me going to the KH for at least 10 years after I had an epiphany and realized the "truth" was largely false.
It was finding this forum back in 2002 that took away the fear. Here were people just like me, or at least a lot like me, who had the same doubts and fears and overcame them. They showed me that life after the WT was not only possible, but could in fact be a better life. In 2003 I found the courage to map out an exit. I meant to do it slowly and deliberately and started by confiding in my wife and grown children. I was surprised to learn they'd been waiting for me to say something for quite awhile. Their reaction ran the gamut from "I'm going with you" to "I understand and I may decide to go with you but I'd like think about it and in the meantime I will never shun you."
That was all we needed to hear and, in a flash, we were gone. Just walked away. Our offspring came along one at a time, and a year later were all out.
We have found freedom. We don't have all the answers; indeed, we don't even all have the same answers! But we also have no regrets. It's been a lovely path to be on and we are so grateful to so many of you - who helped us along the way without even realizing what you'd done.
That is a pretty good post, Jeff, but I must echo the sentiments of some others here. This website isn't so much about freedom from God as it's about freedom from a religion. Just because someone makes an exit from the JWs doesn't mean that he/she will automatically become an atheist. We all walk on our own path in life. Yes, I'll concede that we don't need outsiders coming in here thinking that we are easy pickin's for their pet religious cause but vicious, condescending anti-religion hype doesn't help matters either. Governmental constitutions around the world guarantee freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion...