I have not attended a meeting in two months, Sundays, an occasional Thursday, for the previous 2 years. I now look with my 20/20 hindsight and realize I've been shuffling my feet for a while.
I told some close (elder) friends of mine that I wanted to take some time and think about this. I told him I did not dedicate myself to a corporation - I dedicated myself to Jehovah. He has not brought up religion since to me.
His wife (after she invited me to her KH meetings) just put up her hand and said, "Didn't mean to pry, closed subject." She dismissed the subject then and never has encouraged me since. Not that I was looking for encouragement, but, I swear, you could see the veil come over her facial features when I said I wanted to think about this situation.
Two other brothers I know well, have approached me. I just said I was taking time to really try to study my religion - just as we teach others to do.
Maaaaannnnn! Was I given a strong discourse (fingers pointings and everything) on the only way to life was the meetings. I MUST get back to the meetings - even if I didn't agree - that's the only way Jehovah would ever accept me. I said I wanted to do what was conscientiously right. The poor brother, confused, told me not to follow my conscience - just get back to the meetings! I told him, you don't mean that. And he said, well, if your conscience is made wrong, what else can you do but go to the meetings?
When one of the brothers (two different visits)couldn't answer my questions - Bible based - he said jokingly that I studied too much and was missing the point - life was at the meetings.
I brought up the scripture "where two or more are gathered in your name, your spirit is there." Any place could be a meeting - we're looking for his spirit - not a building.
His answer was: Don't you go thinking that two or more applies to you and your husband (I really never had thought of that until he said it)- and it doesn't mean just a group of people studying for themselves. It means the meetings in the Kingdom Hall, period.
He also referred to the big shuffle in Bethel in 1980 as "The Apostasy of 1980." Has anybody else heard a title penned to this event? I haven't.