Do you Remember the Moment you Stopped Being a JW?

by Smoldering Wick 56 Replies latest jw friends

  • JT


    i have to agree for me the only thing different was the TIME:


    December 17, 1995, sometime between (10:30AM AND 11.30 a.m._
    11:30AM and 12.30 p.m.
    That was when the Watchtower of November 1, 1995 was being studied. I hadn't pre-studied because I was already having doubts (and I can't think of any more boring way to spend a Saturday), but when, in one paragraph, a major doctrine* changed and nobody around me even noticed, I knew it was not - could not be - the truth. Six months later, I stopped going to meetings and have never looked back.
    *The "generation" doctrine. The reason I was still only having doubts up to that point was that I had realised if my religion was just a man-made cult, they would have to change the generation doctrine. I just didn't think everyone else would accept it so easily.

  • freeman

    I do remember the moment or more correctly the moments as it came in two steps, some years apart.

    The first came when the Elders told me that I had to make a choice between my dream job with NASA or the truth, they were quite blunt about it. They suggested I go back to fixing TV’s and working on the side as a janitor as this gave me more time to spend in service and meetings. Working with the Space Telescope and other NASA projects and commuting by jet each week was taking too much time away from the important things like selling worthless magazines door-to-door.

    I thought to myself, I already gave up a well paying Engineering job some years ago because you said I could not work for a place that did any type of defense related work, they know this is only a four month job, and now they want me to give this up too! Give up something that is paying enough to quickly pay off all my debts. I never verbally expressed it, but I was thinking: no I don’t want to be a janitor or a TV fix-it-man, take your meetings and shove them boys.

    Not long after, my four-month contract did indeed end, but the door of opportunity was still wide open. The company I had subcontracted with was apparently impressed with my work and wanted me to do more as they had several existing contracts with NASA. The only stipulation is that I had to move. They would pay for the move, but the bottom line is I had to pick up my family and move several states away.

    Not an easy thing to do, but I did it and started attending meetings with my wife and children at our new congregation. Due to a hurt back I missed a few meetings, and was counseled and made to feel guilty. Here we go again! I moved and had a new job, but nothing has changed. Well actually something did change, something changed within me. Inside of me a small voice cried out ENOUGH, ENOUGH! This time I listened to the voice, and over time I stopped going to the meetings, eventually to the memorial as well.

    That was 1988 and I felt guilty as hell since then. Then just a few years ago I wanted to make my marriage better, I wanted to be closer to my family. I knew the only way I could do this was to get back the faith I had lost, a faith that was still a big part of my wife’s and children’s lives. But the one nagging doubt I have always had was with the creation story. Quite frankly, everyone I worked with has at least a Masters degree and many had PhDs in astrophysics and other related space sciences. So I wasn’t about to bring that subject up at work for fear of ridicule. I really had nobody to discuss the subject with and in truth I didn’t really have a depth of understanding about evolution theory, I just knew, or thought I knew it was the enemy of my faith, or so I was told.

    I decided to meet the enemy head-on and I found myself on talk-origins with my little Watchtower “science” book supposedly debunking the theory of evolution at my side.

    Needless to say, I was cut to shreds and the book in my hands I discovered was more then just erroneous, it was purposefully deceptive. I then did real genuine research on evolution and also checked many of the references cited in the little book. The Watchtower was full of shit, and now I knew it!

    I typed in Jehovah and Watchtower into a search engine and you know what I found, don’t you?

    At 40 years old, I cried and cried like a little kid because the Watchtower was now dead, the fantasy was over, and I did not want it to be over. Yes, I would grow old and die and so would my kids. At that moment I knew that it was all a lie and that I had lived a lie. I was such a fool to waste so much of my life on it.

    It was at that moment that I knew and I have considered myself out of this religion never to return since then.


  • home_and_dry

    My 'moment of truth' was one evening in May 1994. I had been back in the Org for a year after being DF'd and more than anything I remember the incredible loneliness. My best and only JW friend had left the Org 18 months earlier and she was my only ally.

    I had tried SO hard. I had thrown myself into the cong and really tried hard to get some acceptance from the younger members (I was 19). The older ones were okay, I got on well with them but as for friends amongst my own age group - forget it. I went to all the 'gatherings' that I was invited to but I always felt like an outsider.

    So anyway, I was sitting alone in my bedroom, as I did every night that wasn't a meeting night. I was just staring out of my bedroom window. At the back of my house was a house that had a flat roofed section. And on that roof were about 10 people around my age. They were having a barbecue. It was early summer and a really warm sunny evening and I just watched them for a couple of hours. I could hear them laughing and I could hear their music playing. They just seemed to be enjoying themselves so much, more than anything I wished I was one of them.

    At that point it just suddenly dawned on me. I was never going to be like those people. I was never going to be relaxed amongst real friends. I would always be the outsider, trying to get them to like me for me, but never fitting in with them.

    It was that night that I decided I was going to leave the Org. It took me six months to carry it out, alot of initial planning and working out what I was going to do once I left. I started looking for friends away from the Org, and lucky enough I found some. Those same people are still good friends today, one of them, being the best friend I ever had. She supported me and helped me 'escape'. It was only then that I realised I was worth something, there were people that liked me! I really thought that there was something wrong with me, so many 'young ones' in the Cong and none of them wanting much to do with me.

    Even those last six months weren't so tough. I was working towards something, I had a goal and I was started to fill my life with things that weren't JW related. I grew more as a person in that six months than in all of my previous years alive.

    On paper I stopped being a JW in November 1994 but I know I really stopped being a JW that night in May.

    We all make a mess of our lives from time to time
    It's part of the process that you stumble as you climb

  • JT

    At 40 years old, I cried and cried like a little kid because the Watchtower was now dead, the fantasy was over, and I did not want it to be over. Yes, I would grow old and die and so would my kids. At that moment I knew that it was all a lie and that I had lived a lie. I was such a fool to waste so much of my life on it.

    according to Freeman


    hey man deep that is all i can say that is deep

  • JT

    home and dry

    makes a very powerful point:

    It took me six months to carry it out, alot of initial planning and working out what I was going to do once I left

    yes my dear friends THIS IS HOW YOU LEAVE WT,a you plan it and you start building friends outside of wt and then you will have something in place when you leave

    like they say It is easy to look for a job when you have one than when you don't

    great post


  • LDH

    Is it just me or are some of you cracking up while reading these experiences?

    Rodnico, girl that is too funny. Throwing the Tower down, LOL.

    Valis, that you got punched was far from funny--but the precipitating statement of "Fuck Off" was pure comedy.

    Ang, I'm dying laughing. Isn't that the truth? We were indoctrinated for YEARS and when it comes down to it we don't know what to believe. "Ummmm...God's name is Jehovah?!?!?!"


  • SPAZnik

    For me there were a few defining moments.

    July 31, 2000 - in my heart
    Memorial week of April 2001 - in my head.
    Shortly thereafter on paper.


  • ConnieLynn

    My husband slapped me. He was an elder and I was a regular pioneer. I had been one for 10 years. But a young girl in our KH had been disfellowshipped. She was 17, and I thought it was so cruel. I didn't say anything, but I did made eye contact with her as she sat on the back row at meetings with her parents. The feeling in my stomach told me it was WRONG. So, I vocalized it. My husband was so appalled, he slapped me, I fell down and cried, then I began laughing hysterically. He said I was crazy and left. When he came home, I was gone. I never went back home, or to the KH. Opps, except for my judicial hearing. Of coures, I was soon disfellowshipped my self. My only regret is that I didn't leave when I first felt that prodding that something wasn't right.

  • Reborn2002

    For me, it was a conglomerate of defining moments which individually may not have added up to much, but combined.. chipped away at the WT armor and unequivocally demonstrated that the Jehovah's Witnesses were NOT the "Truth".

    My grandfather was a baptized JW for 53 years, and served faithfully as an elder for 45 years until his death in 1999. At his funeral, the speaker talked about my grandfather for all of about 3 minutes, and then after that it became an infomercial for the religion. It didnt seem to register with anyone else, but this was a definite problem for me. There were over 500 in attendance, and 90% of those in present were already baptized Witnesses, so why the need to market the religion? Shouldnt it be concentrated in rememberance of the one lost? Anyway, after the service, the loyal local JW's offered their condolences and demonstrated their "concern" and "love"... which lasted all of about 3 days, then it was status quo for them and back to business. Some "Christian" love? To compund upon that, at the time I was attending a 95% black congregation, and right after the service during the social mingling, a friend of my father who was white from a different congregation whispered in my ear "You know why most of the kids dont associate with you dont you? Change halls." Prejudice and a caste system within the Witnesses? You DONT SAY? LOL.

    Another sequence that made me wonder was so outlandish you will probably laugh as you read it. How controlling are the JW elders? Read on. At the time this happened, I was a very active Dub. I was reading at Book Study, reading at the Watchtower, carrying the mics, the whole shebang. On one particular Sunday during the Watchtower Study, I was yanked to the back room by the elder newly in charge of overseeing the list for who would handle the mics from meeting to meeting, and told that if I did not trim up my sideburns, I would not be allowed to continue carrying the mics in the congregation. Is that not a matter of personal preference? Show me a fucking Scripture that says having long sideburns constitutes you a rebel or unChristian? I asked him this, and he told me I should follow the outline given by the body of elders, who were the ones appointed by Jah to lead the congregation. In reality, he just liked uniformity, and was attempting to wield his self-perceived position of power. I told him where to stick it, and gradually I was on my way to leaving the JW's.

    Another thing that happened was when I noticed the hypocrisy of those "taking the lead" Ill never forget it. A brother from a neighboring congregation who had served at Bethel hadrecently given a talk at our KH and warned against the temptations of the Devil and to avoid activities which would deter from our pursuing the Kingdom first. This included viewing R-rated movies. He specifically stated this from the platform. Low and behold I am out with buddies about 3 weeks later and see him AND his wife sitting 3 rows in front of me viewing "Waiting to Exhale" which was.. YOU GUESSED IT.. an R-rated movie.

    When I started doing my own research and came across the plethora of information on the UN, the waverance on doctrine back and forth as even stated in WT literature verbatim, the parking lot financial scandals, the shunning, the applying of "unwritten" rules having NO scriptural basis, the hypocrisy of so many, Russell's gravesite, exclusivity, the dividing of families, the abuse of children, etc... and presented it to the local elders.. I was branded an Apostate, even though the information was taken DIRECTLY from WT literature in most cases!

    Fuck the JW's.

    I dont have one specific moment, but I damn sure remember the ones which touched me most.


  • Wren

    Thoughtful thread. Good to see you made it through. I wish I had the moment of clarity. I needed a pick ax coming down on granite to slowly chip away the defenses.

    Here's a chip towards the beginning: I was in a car accident in fast stop and go heavy traffic on the skyline in SF trying to get myself and three toddler/infants to the assembly. My daughter was not seriously hurt but needed to go to the ER for stitches and further evaluation. When my childrens grandparents called later that day,(this was before cell phones) they were angry. I was scolded because they were inconvenienced waiting at the gate for my arrival and for us missing the programs, this after I told them we had been in an accident. I let myself get talked out of going directly home and not coming back.

    Other chips of the same type or that of double standards, double lives, double Watchtower speak, and more pressure resulted in my turning away from most JW activity years ago.

    The change to nonbeliever was recent. The final chip was pathetic but liberating. I had just read several articles/exerpts on mind control, one of which was in Hassans techniques used section. It was time to act. At 45 yo, I went to bed each night repeating to myself like a frightened child wishing away monsters in the closet. "I will not go insane. I will not become possessed".

    Guess what? It worked.

    The fear is gone.
    The light is on.
    The door is open.

    Thanks for this chance to vent and use of board space.

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