My choice of terminology was muddled, Shelby. By "end it all" I was referring to our marriage. The "all" was superfluous. It was, regardless, a rhetorical question.
Yes, I understood all of that, dear Nick (as always, the greatest of love and peace to you!).
Alcoholism is a disease and if you are married to an alcoholic you have three choices. You can try to help him stop drinking, you can put up with his drinking, or you can end it and move on.
Agreed. However, while you may have some responsibility for enabling any of his/her abusive behavior, ultimately he/she is responsible for that behavior. In that light, his/her doing good in some, even many, ways... does not necessarily negate the bad behavior done "on occasion." Well, it shouldn't. I realize that for some, it does.
Delusion of the nature we are discussing is also a disease of sorts, but the parallel isn't a perfect one. I have never stopped trying to disabuse my wife of her delusions about the Watchtower, only my approach has changed. Nor do I accept putting up with it but rather limiting the affect it has on my life. Ending it and moving on, not in the picture.
Yes, yes, I totally understand. My comments, however, were more toward your "new" perception of those who have problems with the individuals as well as the organization. You don't necessarily have that situation due to your very loving wife (praise JAH!). But not everyone has that situation. I have NO negative JW influence in my life, none whatsoever. But I can certainly understand that there are those who DO... based, if nothing else, on how many (indeed, most) JWs that I once knew treated ME... when I no longer "walked" with them. Some, if not most, here, however, are experiencing the direct and PERSONAL negative conduct of JWs.
But I get where you're coming from (and you too, OUTLAW and Oz). I think I did luck out in many respects and, as Donny said first in this thread underlined by others, I also realise my unbaptised status puts me into a different category from most of you and therefore warrant different treatment - ie. I am not a despised apostate, just another blind atheist.
Your interactions with the rank and file will be far less benign as will be your response to them.
But in my case to suppose they're trying to win me over, no, that's not happening, at least on the part of those who actually know me and who have already engaged in conversation with me about the Watchtower. They will go out of their way to avoid conversation, which is kind of unfortunate, because my assertions and questions have invariably left them speechless - thanks in great measure to what I have learned from people like you.
We base that supposition on what we were taught when we were in... and are pretty certain is still being taught, dear one. Literally. There literally are instructions on how to deal with "ones" like you. And what we're saying is that all this great treatment that you're enjoying right now... could just as easily end for you, as it did for us... were you to join them (baptized)... then change your mind. It is absolutely unbelievable... and I would venture to say "demonic"... how they can be one way toward you one day... and the absolute polar opposite the next. Inhumane, certainly, even "other worldly"... in a bad kind of way. Incomprehensible by the normal mind.
There are others with whom I do not have a relationship (and don't want one) who periodically try to schmooze me - invitations to social evenings, for example. I have accepted them in the past but no longer as I end up being a minority of one and the artificial nature of the conversations of the evenings have left much to be desired.
Yeah, see, these are just not as good at/about it as the others. Because they don't really CARE... where the others probably do. They more than likely LIKE you, as your own person... and so don't want to offend you. They also like you enough to be CAREFUL with/around you. But their goal is the same: to win you over. Please don't take that the wrong way: it is a noble goal, to want someone to come into your camp, see/believe as you do. We ALL have that goal, to a greater or lesser extent, at some time or another, with those we like/love/admire. So, I'm not suggesting that there's something SINISTER going on for these (the first group you're speaking of). Like you dear wife, I have no doubt their INTENT comes from a good place. I'm just being REAL with you, though... because I KNOW what they're taught to do... and because I was like that group: I NEVER pushed, but I always thought that, through my kindness, perhaps one like you would say, "Hey, they really are good people and maybe I should give it more than my usual consideration." That kind of thing.
And this is a special place, indeed. I have used it myself to rant and vent and rage and there has been no other place in which I felt free to do so.
And that was my point...
But it is also a place visited tentatively by active Jehovah's Witnesses who are taking their very first baby steps into emancipation from the Watchtower. There are many others in here who are still in but whose minds are no longer enslaved but who for one reason or another are not free to make a break. It would be a shame if hostility felt toward them should cause them to retreat into an environment in which they felt more accepted and comfortable, albeit very heavily qualified.
This is true, dear one, but... it is what it is. If one is too thin-skinned to handle the gamut of emotions that run on this board, this may not be the best forum for them (at least, not initially). But having had one's freedom of speech, no, literally their freedom of THOUGHT, stymied and suppressed for, well, quite some time... the first thing some will do IS yell and scream. At and about their suppressers. That is what this board has always been about, even back when Simon still had some belief in the WTBTS. Free speech has always been allowed, even encouraged, so long as it does not violate forum rules. And for some here, indeed I would venture MOST here, it is not only refreshing, but liberating. Imagine, being 30, 40, 50, 60 years old... or older... and being able, for the FIRST time in your life... to say what you feel about JWs and/or the WTBTS.
Then there are people like me who are extensions of their active Jehovah's Witness spouses. Some of us, as I myself have done, vent frustration felt toward their spouses or report on conflicts between them.
Yes! And... you found SUPPORT for how you felt and not "Hey, you took a vow, dude, and no matter WHAT she says/does/believes YOU have to deal with it!" NO ONE here wanted or wants to see YOUR marriage end, dear one. YOUR situation gives some here HOPE. Hope that they previously didn't, couldn't, entertain: staying married to a JW for LIFE... while you know it's all a fraud... AND having a fairly decent relationship in the process! Your situation just makes you yet another "member" in the "body" that is JWN. But one member cannot say to the OTHER members "the body has no use of YOU." Nor can one member tell another member his/her purpose or function. What works for YOU may not necessarily fly in another member's daily functioning.
Still others have made it clear to their spouses that they see the Watchtower for the fraud it is but actually enable their spouses' Watchtower activities. That, I cannot do.
Yes, nor could I so I understand that. I understand that you're saying, "I love you, but I can't be a part of what you do/are a part of." And that you two have come to a place where you can live with that... and still love each other. WONDERFUL, truly! And I totally understand your loyalty to your wife - we ALL do! And you SHOULD have such loyalty... because she is YOUR flesh, which you should love AS yourself. Totally get that. BUT... in being loyal to your dear wife, you MUST understand that she is part of something that others just cannot accept... in part OR en totale... because of THEIR experiences and perceptions. You cannot take it as an attack on your dear wife because no one here knows your wife. You MUST, however, understand that our experiences... AS [former] JWs... is MUCH different than that of an unbelieving mate... and particularly one who has stood HIS ground... and been respected for it... for close to 40 years. Entirely different perspectives, dear one.
Am I saying that you need to jump on our bandwagon? Absolutely not! No more than I/we jumped on yours when you were made at HER (for example, the issue with your son coming to visit and staying in the house - you were ready to blame her and most of US said, "Uh-uh, doesn't sound like she's to blame, here." We could very well have said, "Oh, yeah, your JW wife is playing games, they all do that, and you need to set her straight, etc., etc." We didn't do that - because it didn't appear to be the TRUTH in that matter.
Would they (JWs), however, have done the same for US? Would any one of them have said to someone who seemed to be misaccusing US, "Oh, no, I don't think Sister SA has left God or Christ, at all! From what I can tell, she still loves them, but seems to have some problems with what the "Society" is teaching on this or that!" I would venture to say that answer is no... and that that would include a no as to you dear wife. EVEN... if she knew it was true. True, she might not accuse me, but I would also venture that she wouldn't defend me, either. EVEN... if she knew the truth.
Final point, of this post at least, is a broadly supported perspective that Jehovah's Witnesses have two personalities, one of which is associated with the Watchtower and one that is not.
For many, this is true. Some are NOT able to separate their personalities this way - every waking moment is consumed with Watchtowerness. Others, however, do know how... and WHEN... to turn it off. Some refer to this as "living a double life," but it really isn't the same thing. Some just know that not everyone wants to hear it... and can and do respect that. So, they just tone it down, if not put it on the back burner for a few.
The Watchtower personality is not usually manifest when my wife and I are doing things together. Advice has been given by many to me personally to maximise those times in order to help the non-JW personna achieve a decisive dominance.
I will say this to you, as a woman and a wife: for MOST married women, including JW women, the MOST important thing in their lives, besides their children (IF their children), is the attention they receive from their spouse. If that attention is kind, loving, generous, of a sufficient amount... and, perhaps most importantly, distracting from the daily grind and mundane routines of life... you "have" her. If she KNOWS that YOUR world includes her, if not is ABOUT her, you "have" her.
In YOUR situation, however, again... I think what YOU don't see, what many who leave don't see... is that some DO have a spiritual need. Some ARE conscious of their spiritual need and, for now, the only "thing" satisfying that need... is the WTBTS. Is it doing so completely? No. It can't. But they can't see any alternative... other than what, perhaps, YOU'RE offering... and that is NO God, at all. That is NOT going to fly for such ones, dear one. Ever. While they CAN walk away from [a] religion [altogether]... that cannot walk away from God. Some cannot initially. Some never can.
You CAN get your wife out of the WTBTS. You CAN. The problem is YOUR problem with the only alternative she can and will accept: that there IS a God. So long as you're not willing to ALLOW her to consider THAT alternative, she will be a JW. Because based on how you describe your wife, she is one of those who is trying to LIVE the truth... and what the WTBTS folks SAY... but not what they DO. She does this because of her faith in God... NOT her faith in the WTBTS.
You're a good man and good husband, dear Nick. But please consider that you, too, may be responsible for your wife STAYING in the WTBTS. Because you, TOO, may be limiting her options for leaving.
Again, I bid you the greatest of love and peace!
YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,