I've been leaving the past few weeks and it appears I am gone now.
I left relatively quickly. I commited adultery earlier this year. I didn't do it purposely to get out of the organization. The incident was a personal failing. But it did provide a quick exit.
I started to doubt whether there was a God in a philosophy class about 4 years ago. I kinda pushed those doubts aside at the time. But, with that and other observations about the world, I've come to feeling that there may or may not be a God in the past few months. I guess I could describe myself as agnostic.
If one assumed that there is a God and that the Bible was his Word, I would still have thought that Jehovah's Witnesses had the Bible religion down the best. I've seen many arguments here against them and their beliefs, however few of them strike a nerve with me. I have to admit that I may still be biased by things I've been taught all my life. All my life, I've generally approached theological arguments with a bias toward the way JW believe. However, one thing about the organization and even the Bible that does strike a nerve is strong counsel to avoid apostates and to avoid certain other patterns of thought. In my mind, if something is true or correct, it should be able to withstand any rhetorical opposition or contradictory ideas.
Logic and philosophy should not be the enemy of truth. Even if getting to know God requires some higher plane of thought (spirtual thought??), I should be able to start out with logic and reach some firm conclusions clearly manifest in the physical world about God and spirituality before preceding further. After all, I'm only a man, and my natural mode of thought is physical to begin with. Or maybe that's just my personal feeling about what's natural, but I think anyone can agree that the physical world is what we are first able to understand. Babies first learn about the physical world and tangible things. It takes a few years before a child is even able to comprehend intangible and abstract qualities. So I'll probably still read the Bible and the JW publications, but I won't be limited to those. I plan to pick up some stuff by Darwin, Ray Franz and who knows where I'll go after that.
So I decided to tell my wife on Monday April 8. That same day I mailed a letter to the elders confessing, so that my wife would be free to remarry. Well my wife, of course, cried, and then got worried when I said I wasn't going back to the Kingdom Hall. She called an elder herself and a couple of them came over to my apartment that evening. I gave them a copy of the letter and they said they'd have to set up a judicial committee. Maybe I can copy my letter here sometime, but it basically said, I had commited adultery, I am unrepentant, and I don't want to discuss any details of the incident, and that they would probably easily reach a decision to disfellowship. It said I only wanted my wife to be Scriptually free to remarry.
One of the elders apparently went out of town, so he called me the next Monday to ask me if I'd changed my mind and to tell me they scheduled the meeting on Tuesday April 15. I declined to attend. Tuesday night they called twice, but I wasn't there. Sadly, an older brother in my congregation died that week(just last week that is), and that kinda slowed things a little again. They finally called me Friday to say they preferred to tell me their decision in person. So I agreed to meet with them this past Sunday April 21. They once again reminded me that I could repent and asked me if I wanted to stand by my letter. I said yes. They sent me into another room while they discussed among themselves what I knew had to be a clear cut decision. A few minutes later they came and got me and said they had not choice but to disfellowship me. They gave me my appeal options and the options for coming back and said the meeting was over if I had nothing further to say. I stood up without saying a word and walked out.
I really have nothing against those men, the organization, or any JW. They can choose to believe as they want. I can choose to believe as I want. And as far as I can tell, I'm clear of the organization now. The process wasn't painful at all. They were at my apartment that first Monday for about 15 minutes. And the last meeting was about 10 minutes. They'll probably have to wait until next week's service meeting to announce me because of the 7 day appeal thing, but surprisingly I've received only a few calls from people the past two weeks since I haven't been going to the meeting. And that despite the fact that my wife is attending another congregation now and that she has only told a few of her close friends. Maybe more people know that I think. Certain people should be aware that I am having "difficulties". I was reading at the bookstudy, working in literature, working as an attendant and a microphone carrier, 3 weeks ago. So I assume they had to let some people know certain things discreetly, so that they could continue to operate smoothly.
Of course, it has been painful with my wife. But I don't think I should have been married either, so we'll deal with that. She's not been as emotional as I expected and seems to be moving forward and a reasonable rate. I've heard the most "encouragement" from her, but that's simply because she's the one who's around, and she likes to talk.
The biggest thing now to be settled is my family. They were very emotional when I first told them. I was raised in the truth, and they believe it very strongly. But hopefully they can calm down soon. Fortunately they live 850 miles away, but surprisingly my mother has decided to come up and visit next weekend. This will be the first time she's come here since I moved here over 2 years ago. In fact none of my family has been up to visit. I sent them an email and told them they were still welcome to visit and call. I doubt that I will still be welcome to visit them, but we'll see. My mom will at least do this visit.