It's interesting that you remarked specifically about holidays in reference to my quote. Actually, I did not find it difficult to give those things up. I continue now as I did then to avoid becoming immersed in the crass commercialism of them.
There are so many other situations actually that give me pause when I recall the limitations and social ostracism of the jw lifestyle:
- Having your children's school teachers LOATHE you because you object to virtually every assignment given (especially in grade school, where "worldly" themes permeate most teaching methods).
- Having to meddle constantly in your children's school routines so as to protect them from accidental encounters with "math bingo" or voting for class president or gift-exchanges or kleenex "ghosts" - no wonder most jw parents would rather homeschool and keep their kids "separate" from others?
- Avoiding participation or volunteering for any neighborhood activity as it is usually oriented around holiday themes; to your neighbors, you are something unfathomable and strange and "friendship" with them is forbidden anyway - how insular is that?
In the workplace, there are dozens of scenarios I recall where in order to explain my unwillingness to do something EVERYONE ELSE was doing, my religious beliefs had to be delineated for them at length; again, a simple babyshower or celebration for someone's promotion was off-limits. It was VERY socially stigmatizing and disrupted (for everyone) the momentum that "team work" builds in a small office.
I don't have time to go into this further, but hope it briefly illustrates that jw's DO live a socially-restrictive, oppressive and anxiety-ridden life that is tantamount to living in a cult-ranch.
If the jw lifestyle was shown to be of long-term benefit to families and individuals, then I'd still be one, and I'd be grateful to God for providing me with a safe haven. Most of the jw's I have known are NOT happy, do NOT have happy family lives, DO suffer from incredible mental anguish and can barely trust their own spouse with the smallest confidential matter.... It was the preponderance of depression and betrayal I experienced AS a jw that caused me to doubt that Jehovah could have ANYTHING to do with that organization.
By the way, Friday, what makes your life meaningful? I ask this with all due respect and genuine curiosity. If you flame me, I will not respond further.