My husband and I have two small children, one of which recently became an unbaptised publisher and joined the school. My husband is an elder and firmly committed to our family and loves me deeply as I love him. I would like to find a way for all of us to fade away as we have family in the organization that we do not want to lose. I do not want my doubts of "the truth" to separate our family. I need help and guidance on how to gradually help him to come around. There is more on him later but for now here is my story.
I was baptized well before my preteens. I truly thought it was the right thing to do then. I was too young to understand the "deeper things" and really wish someone had told me to wait. Fast forward a bit and I was molested by a longtime friend of the family who happened to be an elder. I told my mom, she in turn asked me to tell the elders. I did and because there were not two witnesses nothing could be done. The "elder" said it all must have been a misunderstanding. The congregation elders on the JC told me I could not speak of this to anyone else and implied the authorities as well since I did not have proof beyond my word. They mentioned to speak of it would be slander. I felt stuck. If I left the "truth" I would lose my friends, my family and everything I loved. So employed the fake it til you make it tactic. Over the years I always had love for Jehovah, even through my molestation ordeal. I didn't blame him. I blamed imperfect men. When the new understanding about generations came I was still young and didn't get it. But I put it aside so as not to dwell on it and left it in Jah's hands. I also never understood things like the flood and how a God of love could destroy innocent children. And if the world was so bad in the time of the flood, wouldn't he surely destroy our current one and bring about lasting peace for us now? How is it possible that my "worldly" family, who is full of good, honest, loving, decent people be destroyed at Armageddon? They love God. They think they are truly doing what is right. Cannot God read their hearts to know that they have the right motives? When my dad died (he was not a JW) a family member asked me to explain my beliefs because they wanted to be comforted in the fact that I had hope I could hold on to. I described the resurrection and this family member asked me how I could be hopeful knowing that my father was dead and that I had the possibility of seeing him in the future. But not a surety. I couldn't answer. I was then told (in a very gentle loving way) that this member of my family felt my religion was a cult, you can get in but never out, and that the hope of heaven and knowing that my father could look down on this person now, is what carried them through. I dismissed it at the time, but the reference to the cult never left me and often nagged at me.
Fast forward again to when I was a regular auxiliary pioneer and I was slandered falsley by an individual in my congregation. The slander was widespread and truly mortifying. It was proven false and this person was told by the elders to cease, but it put a bad taste in my mouth because there were many others who chose to spread the malicious gossip instead of ignore or try to discover the truth. I thought it impossible that people in Jehovahs organization could be so cruel. But I plugged along anyway and viewed it as a test of my faith from Satan. All the while, my doubts lingered over me like a dark cloud, but I kept pushing them aside because I didn't want to feed it and drift away.
I later had a couple of miscarriages and searched for hope through the literature only to find that there was none. Apparently my unborn children were not worthy of a resurrection. I fell into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. What stopped me from killing myself was the fear that I would never see my father again as I wouldn't have been worthy of a resurrection. I told my husband that I disagreed with the societies literature and believed that a God of love would never tell me that my unborn child was not to be resurrected. What solid scriptural basis was there for that? None, IMO. I firmly believed in my heart it was wrong. I felt vindicated when I read a WT article later rescinding that line of thinking. But didn't understand how an organization inspired of God and his Holy Spirit could be so misguided in something I firmly believed.
When my sibling and I were younger, our mother told us never to fight back and always turn the other cheek. My father said mom was full of bull and to fight back enough to get away and make our escape and to prove we couldn't be bullied. I followed my fathers advice. And disagreed with the societies line of thinking on self-defense. When a classmate of my son tried to bully him he fought back and I was proud. He did just enough to make his point without truly hurting the other kid. He told his grandma and she scolded me for teaching him to fight back. I referred her to a more recent Awake article about self-defense which reversed the past stand about turning the other cheek. But felt pity for the ones for all these years that stood back and allowed themselves or their children to be bullied. How many people suffered because of this wrong information?
I recall reading an article years back about persecution and how if you have to lie in the name of the truth that God would not consider it a lie. And I wondered how an imperfect person could decipher whether or not they were really lying in the name of God, of the truth, or in mans name in disguise. Wouldn't it be better to just remain silent as Jesus did?
Also, how is it that there is only one true religion when the Proclaimers book shows that people of other faiths, who succeeded in translating the bible despite persecution were somehow followers of the true God? They were not part of the one true religion. How can this be?
At the beginning of last year another event happened which cast even more doubts over me. I prayed sincerely and fervently for understanding and for Jah to correct my attitude. Poured myself into studies. Still no answer, just more questions. More recently another incident happened at the KH where another person criticized me to the point that I felt I was being picked apart. I thought that this person truly must hate me to pick me apart so thoroughly. I told my husband that I am never judged more than when I am at the KH. He agreed and felt sympathy for me. He has often spoken of stepping down as he feels he has faults and is ill-equipped to counsel others when he himself has so much to work on. In addition he feels that his position puts undo attention on his family and just exposes us to more criticism by judgemental witnesses in the congregation.
Lately, I have been praying more for guidance. For God to tell me what to do. To lay it out on the line. If this is "the truth" prove it to me! If my faith is strong I believe I should be able to scriptirally refute any false information thrown my way! I should be able to permanently bury my doubts. As I have delved deeper into research all I find are more questions and confusion based on reading WT literature. Before the last two Sunday meetings I prayed for wisdom and humility, for Jehovah to make me know his ways, as King David prayed. And during both public talks I heard information that was wrong, or purely mans opinion touted on stage, not God's. I whisper in my husbands ear when this happens and he shakes his head in agreement. But I know I have to take things in small doses with him. Especially considering I scared him the other day spouting off my opinion about a sport considered life-endangering. He mentioned how he wishes we would be able to participate in such a sport and I said that I saw no scriptural reason why we shouldn't if we wanted to. Although I have no desire to do such things, statistically speaking driving in a car is more dangerous and much more likely to lead to death. If I hadn't been asking him so many questions lately, this wouldn't have phased him. But I could tell I scared him so I need to back off for a while.
My husband has encouraged me to do research on my questions. He has visibly seen me doing this lately. And has seen how the result is more questions and more confusion. In addition, I have seen how my questions have scared him, but have also prompted him to think because he cannot answer my questions. He is still at the point where I was where he sets it aside and chooses not to dwell on it.
Right now, the biggest difficulty for me is participating in service. It doesn't feel right to me, I feel like a hypocrite. I feel like I can make slow progress with my husband though because as it stands, when I am not feeling well, or when one of the family is sick, unless he has a part in the meetings, he generally stays home with us. I used to encourage him to go without me if this happened, but I have stopped and I noticed without the encouragement he is less likely to go.
I am still at a mental stage where I fear whether or not I am doing the right thing. Am I just misguided? Is my faith not strong enough to endure this test? Should I just be ignoring these nagging questions so as not to stumble myself? The only answer I have come across is continual prayer. I am sincere, and if there is a God, he will answer my sincere prayer. I have not stopped praying for this.