Do you Remember the Moment you Stopped Being a JW?

by Smoldering Wick 56 Replies latest jw friends

  • AlanF

    For me there were a lot of little things over the years that gradually added up to a big, hollow pit of fear in my gut that wouldn't go away. After 1975 came and went, I dully realized that something was wrong. I kept having visions of myself 25-30 years later, still working in a shitty job and hating my life. My father-in-law -- never a JW -- eventually convinced me to go to college, which I did in 1978. Over the next four years I was mostly inactive due to the work load, but kept telling myself I'd get back into the swing of things JW when I finished. During that time I had to do some research using JW literature on creation and Noah's Flood as source references. I discovered that a lot of the Society's references were bogus, which just reinforced my vaguely ill feelings about the Witnesses.

    After college I got a good job, and my wife and I moved to a new state where we got fully back into JW life. But I still kept finding out things that made me think that the Society was full of crap about some things, like creation and the Flood. In late 1982 they put a really stupid article in Awake! that vaguely argued that animals eat each other because of Adam's sin, which made me realize that these guys were just winging it and God had little if anything to do with what they wrote.

    A year later came a defining moment. I was in a car with three other JW men one rainy Saturday morning, doing the usual not-at-homes with a car group. Every 15 minutes two of us would get out and verify that another not-at-home was still not at home. At the end of about two hours I was sitting there being irritated at the wasted time, when it occurred to me that I didn't have to be there if I didn't want and so I decided not to be there anymore. I decided not to attend meetings any more. Later my wife begged me to go to the occasional Sunday meeting. So at that point I was fully inactive.

    Over the next few years I was nothing but irritated whenever I went to a Sunday meeting or an assembly. I did some library research and some looking into some of the Society's more stupid teachings, but it was hit or miss because I didn't want to start something I thought I might be afraid of finishing. Finally in late 1990 I started doing some intense research. I found that the Society had told massive lies in some of its publications, especially in the 1985 Creation book, and that made me extremely angry. But I kept it inside. Later I bought a small book critical of JWs, and that gave me an introduction to people who had written critically about JW history, the 1914 doctrine, and of course Raymond Franz's experiences.

    By mid-1993 I complained bitterly to my parents about the lack of response I was getting from all quarters among the Witnesses, from them to local elders to the Society itself. So they used a bit of personal influence and convinced GB member Albert Schroeder to talk to me on the phone. We talked one Sunday afternoon for about 2 1/2 hours. I went easy on him, but hit him with some things he couldn't answer. He reluctantly agree to review some research material I would send him. By the next summer he had not gotten back to me, and so in August I called him and told him that I would be in New York on business in September and asked him to meet with me. He refused but said I could call him on a Saturday morning in his office when it wouldn't be busy. I did, and asked him why he hadn't fulfilled his promise. He hemmed and hawed. At one point I asked him why the JWs are an exception to Jesus' words of warning in Luke 21:8 about not following anyone who predicts the end. He said, "It can't apply to us because we're God's people!" Finally I cornered him on whether he was ever going to fulfill his promise to respond to the material I sent him. He said that he would not, and I asked him why he was reneging on his word. He said that they at Bethel had better things to do than answer the questions I had given him. At that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks: these people are not interested in their "flock" but only in mechanically doing their "preaching work". At that point I knew with absolute certainty that there is little of redeeming value about the Watchtower Society and I knew that there was no point in trying to get truthful answers from determined liars. I had no more little twinges of "even after all my research, maybe they're still right". I finally and reluctanctly realized that Watchtower leaders are incorrigibly evil.


  • LDH
    Every 15 minutes two of us would get out and verify that another not-at-home was still not at home

    Alan, simply hysterical. I'm glad your daughter is doing so well.


  • david_10

    I don't post too often, usually because I can't think of anything to say. I still can't think of too much to say, but this thread has made me tremble. SmolderingWick, your experience is a heartbreaking one, and I can identify with every emotion that you have had to grapple with: that feeling of life closing in on you and there's nothing you can do about it except "wait on Jehovah" and the dawning realization that Jehovah doesn't care-------you're on your own and the Brothers don't care either. But somehow you slowly put it together and figure it out and you survive. At least those lucky ones among us do. Beautiful post,SW.

    To a few of my favorite posters:


    I finally and reluctanctly realized that Watchtower leaders are incorrigibly evil.
    When one is coming out of the organization,one becomes aware that the Society has made a few mistakes over the years and you want to pass it off as "oh-well-nobody's-perfect." But when the dawning realization starts washing up on you that the leadership is actually wicked----that's hard to take,and I guess, for me,that was the "kick."

    Scully That green and yellow pill (aka Prozac) seems to be as much a part of the Witness "suit of armour" as the book-bag. I've heard from some pretty reliable sources that in this area at least, around 4/5th's of the sisters and a sizeable number of the brothers are using it, and, for some odd reason, they're proud of it and they wear it as a badge of honor. Like it proves that they're suffering for righteousness' sake or something. Oh well-----Jehovah's happy people. Your "friend" that gave you the last kick sounds par for the course. I feel very sorry for her; maybe she'll get a "kick" of her own someday and finally wake up to the insanity of it all. Take care.

    Joy2bfree Happy to see that your exit is going well.


    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.
    Godalmighty,I know that horrifying feeling. Just like realizing that the leadership of the Society is actually wicked, it was hard for me to finally realize that our "hope" was nothing but a fantasy, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and that I and all my family and loved ones are going to die-------it's only a question of when.

    JT Succinct and to the point,as usual.

    Great thread. One comes along every once in a while. That's why I love this place.


  • AlanF

    Hi David,

    : When one is coming out of the organization,one becomes aware that the Society has made a few mistakes over the years and you want to pass it off as "oh-well-nobody's-perfect."

    How true! I'm chuckling to myself because that's just about the understatement of the year.

    : But when the dawning realization starts washing up on you that the leadership is actually wicked----that's hard to take,and I guess for me,that was the "kick."

    I'll say! Just what got you to that point?

    I'd like to comment that my statement that JW leaders are incorrigibly wicked applies to many, but not all of them. By "JW leaders" I mean the entire body of men who actually run the Watchtower Society and determine JW doctrine and policy. A small number are wicked because they actively do bad things to others. A few are wicked because they set policies or teachings that hurt people more passively, but on a massive scale, such as the blood doctrine. Most are wicked because they passively go along with and therefore support doctrines and policies that they know very well are injurious to people, or are just plain wrong. Such men comprise the bulk of Watchtower leaders today, and they're in their positions purely because they've been extremely diligent ass-kissers. A few might be compared to those in Israel who were "sighing and groaning over the detestable things being done in Jehovah's house." While they're certainly not in "Jehovah's house", I pity them for believing that they are.

    BTW, if you're interested and have the time, you can read a good deal more about my personal experiences in coming to a final realization about the Society here:

    : Great thread. One comes along every once in a while. That's why I love this place.

    Same here. You ought to post more often.


  • Wickid

    LDH: My experience is incredibly similar to yours. My wife and I were raised in the Truth(TM), and had been desensitized to the real world around us for many years. We started slowly slipping away because of the chores of living life. Gradually meeting attendance took last place. We still considered ourselves to be "good witnesses", and would never think of doubting anything we were rasied to beleive. We just weren't "doing all we could do in Jehovah's service." Then, in the summmer of 1994, we decided to get our act together and attend the district convention. Jehovah was going to be so proud of us. Although we got through Friday okay for the most part, it just didn't feel right; something was wrong, and although we really didn't talk about it, there was an uneasy feeling we had never felt before, especially not in the presence of "Jehovah's chosen people." It was not until the next day, Saturday, when we could see through the canned experiences, and the clear living of the "double-life" by those heaped with praise and applauded for there exemplary lifestyle. It was a dog-and-pony show with no substance. It was so clear now. We had been gone just long enough to come back and see everything with objective eyes. At lunch, we went out to our car and cried profusely. We were sickened both by what we had been a part of, and by the sudden realization that we had spent all of our lives up to that point in a world that didn't exist in reality. We left and never went back. I still toy with the idea of attending a Sunday meeting to remind myself what I'm NOT missing, just for sport. The problem with doing that is that since I'm not very smart, they may evoke the dormant guilt mechanisms they spent a lifetime implanting in me and suck me back in through no fault of my own. Then my wife would have to murder me in some horrific way per my instructions. She has standing orders to kill me if I become involved in any mind control cults again. I'd rather be dead than be forced to live that way again. :)


    What a fantastic thread this is !!!

    Wickid said

    " It was a dog-and-pony show with no substance ".

    Could you elaborate your feelings on that please.

  • patio34

    All of the following statements resonated in me.

    Wickid says:

    when we could see through the canned experiences, and the clear living of the "double-life" by those heaped with praise and applauded for there exemplary lifestyle. It was a dog-and-pony show with no substance
    Reborn 2002 says:
    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?
    Connie Lyn says:
    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.
    Home & Dry says:
    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.
    Freeman said:
    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!
    My personal "awakening" moment (actually there were two that preceded the flashbulb moment) was on a Sunday morning.

    But first, the other two. One Saturday was pretty depressing and i sat down and wrote a list entitled "What being a Jehovah's Witness has done for me." It was all the negative things about it, actually only the ones i could think of then. It was long. I felt so guilty i tore it up.

    Soon after i missed a Sunday meeting and took my grandsons to the beach instead. I thought, how much better and wholesome it was for them at the beach than at the stuffy, stodgy, unfriendly kingdom hall.

    The lightbulb moment came another morning with the grandsons when they were viewing the video Dinosaur. It brought a lot of my "doubts" (really reasonable thinking) about evolution to a head. I decided to once and for all investigate evolution from scientists' perspective.

    I decided it was just too duplicitous to read evolution books and attend meetings. The rest progressed as Freeman said and I never went to another meeting.

    Another contributing factor was health problems that necessitated my missing a lot of evening meetings, so i wasn't being subjected to as much endoctrination as usual. I could then have a little freedom of thought!

    This is a great thread SW!!


  • finnrot

    For me it was 1976 and one second. No Armageddon, it must all be bullshit. Simple as that.

    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    Terry Pratchett.

  • LDH

    Wickid says:

    I'm not very smart

    I would beg to differ with you. You ain't a JW anymore, are you? (PS--Didn't your ass chap sitting there fidgeting around?)

    Finn, Lord Almighty I forgot that you wrote me an email. I was busy and meant to get back to it and I just remembered! SORRY! Yes, the idea is a good one.


  • alamb

    January 2001.
    The third reference I looked up confirmed that Jerusalem didn't fall in 607.
    It unraveled like a cheap sock. 35 years of memorizing the formula for 1914 for nothing.
    That was it.

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