What keeps you going after your exit from the Watchtower Society?

by Awen 21 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Awen

    I am curious as to what you first did when you left the Watchtower Society's mind control cult.

    Did you try to find friends who had gotten out also? Did you try to get others out?

    Did you go to school (college/university)?

    How different was the "world" you now found yourself in compared to living in JW-Land?

    What surprised you? Were the "worldy people" anything like what the WTS had warned you about pre-exit?

    Just a few questions to mostly help those contemplating their own exit see what is and is not "out there".



  • sd-7

    I did, for a time, try to find someone I once knew, but was unsuccessful.

    I didn't try to get anyone else out. I'd already gone to college, and wasn't in a position to go back anyway even if I wanted to (I didn't).

    Worldly people, as I have learned, aren't necessarily all that different from JWs. For me, personally, I learned that none of 'em can really be trusted at first glance. Some of them, both in and out of the religion, simply aren't looking out for your best interests. That's a reality you probably should learn long before now, but with all that 'us vs. them' stuff you learn on the inside, you're just too naive to be ready for the outside world at first, if you were raised on the inside. But sometimes...you need to make some mistakes in order to grow up. I didn't have the chance to really learn that emotional wisdom, if you will.

    I think, at the same time, for one of my last judicial committees, some worldly people helped me shovel snow out of my parking space--total strangers, mind you. I didn't even have a shovel. One person loaned me a shovel, and a second person, totally unrelated to the first, actually did a lot of the shoveling for me when he saw I was struggling. That told me all I needed to know. Here I was, going to a place where people are preparing to cast me out as anathema, and yet right in front of me, total strangers are helping me with no thought of reward or regard for my belief system.

    So the world has good people in it, same the JW religion does. I think acts of kindness are arguably more common outside the religion than inside, though, at least in my experience.

    What keeps me going? Truth, believe it or not. I've learned more about the Bible, about history, about my own belief system, than I ever did in all the time I was a Witness. I have the joy of being able to read whatever I want without fear of scrutiny. No topic is forbidden, save that which I forbid to myself.

    And...now I'm free to think about what I used to afraid to think about. I can acknowledge how I really feel without filtering it through a Watchtower article that tells me how I should feel. I don't think leaving the Witnesses requires a complete disposal of your moral compass; it merely requires a disposal of theirs, and a taking up of your own. And that compass is a patchwork that you will put together over time, patience, and experience. Wondering where that compass will lead, it's like a whole new journey where you don't know the destination. It can be enlightening.

    Certainly there's sadness and pain and even negative consequences if you make poor decisions. But at least you don't have the added guilt of being put on trial by others (unless you break the law or something) about it. You can forgive yourself, learn to heal, that sort of thing.

    Wish I had a better response, but it's been a long week.


  • shamus100

    I went out, went apeshit, smoked crack, stuck needles in my arm, got aids, became a male prostitute, murdered people, and spanked every baby that I could see. Er, um, no, didn't spank every baby that I could see. ;D It's true what happens - when you leave jehobahs protection things go downhill rather quickly.

    ** snicker**

    Oh, I also worship Belzebub.

  • nugget

    We have made connections with people who have also left. We have reached out in the local community allowing the children to join clubs and groups. I volunteer in the community and also am doing a university degree.

    It is a rebuild and there are times when there are moments of regret but it is the determination to keep moving forward that keeps us going. I aim to make sure our life is fulfilling and worthwhile that my children have no regrets.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I changed the order of your questions to show what i did in order

    Did you go to school (college/university)?

    That was first. I was a high school drop out who had really wanted to continue my education but it wasn't allowed. And I had no marketable skills.

    How different was the "world" you now found yourself in compared to living in JW-Land?

    What surprised you? Were the "worldy people" anything like what the WTS had warned you about pre-exit?

    What consistently surprised me was that people were nice to me even when they knew little about me. The kindness of strangers blew me away.

    They were supportive and non-judgemental. It was so different than the JWs. I could talk about what I thought I knew and they helped me work through my confusion. It didn't matter if we disagreed. It was ok to agree to disagree; to be different.

    Did you try to find friends who had gotten out also? Did you try to get others out?

    This took 10 years because for the first 10 I still believed the JWs were right or almost right. Then I got on the internet and my world view shifted. I didn't find other ex-JWs. I found other ex-cult members and that was an eye-opener. The similarities were uncanny. I learned a lot from them. I have on occasion tried to find old friends but it seems they have moved away from the area so I haven't found them.

    I haven't tried to get anyone out. But I have helped many of those who have left.

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    Technically, I am only 'mentally out' but... What I realized when the Truth about 'the truth' dawned on me, was I would need a new framework or scaffold. For me, it was easy - SCHOOL. I was destined for a college education, but was derailed with WT nonsense. So the first thing I did was apply to the State U, got accepted, enrolled, registered and my first semester starts September 1!

    But everyone's 'framework/scaffold' will be different. Just like in THE REAL WORLD.

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    Did you try to find friends who had gotten out also? Did you try to get others out?

    I faded in 2006 . In the past three yrs I have contacted old friends that had also left the witnesses ,mainly on facebook .

    I have no desire to 'get anyone out ' . Leaving the religion has to be a personal decision made when a person reaches the point that they can admit all is not what it seems with in the KH walls . Even my own children had to make their own choice without pressure from me . HOWEVER ....If anyone that is an active Witness asks me why I left .....I will certainly not hold back the whole TRUTH and reasons .

    Did you go to school (college/university)?

    I was born and raised as a Witness and left when I was 44. I would love to be able to go to collge , but just feel it is not feasible money and age considered .

    How different was the "world" you now found yourself in compared to living in JW-Land?

    It feels like a very heavy burden has been lifted from my shoulders . I feel for the first time in my life that I am truely FREE to live my own life . In the congregation I was constantly worried about stumbling someone . I questioned my choices all the time worried someone at the Hall would consider me weak . I always felt NOT GOOD ENOUGH . The witnesses used emotional blackmail as a way to keep 'friends' in line . Such as "Well if you get more hours in service You will get more social invites ." You are not liked because of who you really are as a person ,but what appearence you make in the congregation .

    What surprised you? Were the "worldy people" anything like what the WTS had warned you about pre-exit?

    What surprised me was how easily we were welcomed by 'worldly friends'. The best surprise I have received was that my older DA'd brother accepted me with open arms even after all the years I had half heartedly shunned him .

    I attended a Church the first few months after I left and I cried at how sincere and loving these people were .....so very different than what the KH had preached about them .

    I have made many new friends and so far none are as horrible as the WTS described . Instead i have found friends that are accepting ,without manipulation .

    It did not happen over night .The first two years were tough ! But I can honestly say "I am happier now than ever before ,and it was all worth it to feel this alive ,finally "

  • mamalove

    I have kids to take care of, a job, a social life. I have not gone to church at all, although I did read a lot of religious things to try and make up my mind how I felt about life. During my exit I got a divorce, so that took a lot of time and was full of drama. Kind of a distraction. Plus I have lots of holiday's to enjoy and birthday parties to go to.

  • AGuest
    Did you try to find friends who had gotten out also?

    Actually, it ended up being a group of about 15 of us (most DF'd), dear Awen (the greatest of love and peace to you!)... all but 3-4 of whom partook while "inside" (non-partakers were spouses)... along with our children. Started with the "wolves" asking me to leave. These others were learning what I was learning... and from the same Source... so when they were questioned, their responses were similar (and, of course, they were accused of associating with me... which blew them away because they had all been "pillars" and couldn't believe they weren't being believed by those sitting on their respective "tribunals"). Actually, the opposite was true: since we were all hearing and learning similar things, some (men, primarily, but a couple of the "sisters" who had "regularly pioneered" for years) actually had a problem with my "contributions". So, I actually often refrained from sharing things.

    Have had some contact with a couple/few who have gotten out since...

    Did you try to get others out?

    Actually, no, never. I was the one who told everyone that we needed to be "humble, obedient, wait on 'Jehovah', not make waves," etc. Didn't matter, though. We all tried to just stick to the truth, as well as the "attitude" that the Society had taught us to have. But once they started coming after us wasn't much we could do except renounce our anointing... and Christ... in favor of the "Society and it's Faithful and Discreet Slave". None of us could do that, so...

    Did you go to school (college/university)?

    Yep. Got a JD in 2008. Not from a prestigious school, of course (couldn't afford that)... but I wanted to show my kids that there IS life after the WTBTS. And there certainly is education.

    How different was the "world" you now found yourself in compared to living in JW-Land?

    Well, I had come out of the world INTO the Borg, so it wasn't that big of a shock for ME. Some of the others had to "adjust" and, unfortunately, not all were able. Some went back to the things they had left off doing when they went in (i.e., drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, etc.). One thing some of us learned is that some (most) have difficulty living as a "free" people - that they NEED others to set boundaries and hold them to rules... tell them what they can/cannot, should/should not do... because they can't do/figure it out for themselves. As a result, they either turn to yet another religion (and, unfortunately, only "defiling" themselves all over again, sadly - I know, I know... not all believe this, but...)... or totally crash and burn. Not all, no. But most, unfortunately. Some marriages, including mine, didn't survive (although the end of mine wasn't at all related). Which is why the Borg is able to convince those still in her... and who live in great FEAR... that leaving HER will result in their demise: because it happens all the time. The BEST revenge for those angry at her? Do your best to live a GOOD life! Pursue your dreams... but without compromising your integrity... or giving up your faith!

    What surprised you? Were the "worldy people" anything like what the WTS had warned you about pre-exit?

    Really only one thing: I did not find the people in college to be non-believers, per se. To the contrary, I found most to be believers of some kind. or another. However, very few were RELIGIOUS. So, I fit right in!

    Great thread and questions, dear Awen... and I am sure someone will benefit from the responses, so thank you!

    Again, peace to you!

    YOUR servant, sister, and fellow slave of Christ,


  • Robdar

    There is so much to do in life. Why would anybody have to find something to keep them going after leaving the WTS? Just have fun and live your life.

    I made friends, took some college courses, went to parties, joined social clubs, got into politics, worked on campaigns, drove old people to the voting booth, endulged my artistic side, celebrated holidays and had a great time. Worldly people are no better and no worse than JWs. Some are fun and trustworthy. Some are a drag and not worth the bother.

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