For those who feel that their life has been stolen

by stillin 47 Replies latest jw friends

  • OnTheWayOut

    You maintained a level of personal decency and integrity that you almost certainly would not have had if you had chosen another direction.

    I no longer subscribe to any belief in "sin" at all, and find that religion is despicable in making people feel guilty over normal activity like sex between unmarried people. A religion that condemns the homosexuals and the "fornicators" is not helping people maintain a level of decency- rather it is insisting on a form of bigotry.
    While it may be true in many cases, such as mine, where being in that terrible cult helped people refrain from drugs and alcohol, that doesn't make members decent nor mean that they have integrity. Integrity implies having honesty, strong moral principles, and being whole or undivided in the sense of being consistent with your actions and beliefs. Witnesses, including myself, have been terrible at being honest. They tell the truth but feel free to mislead when convenient, and many even don't do that but simply lie. Their strong moral principles are forced on them, and again- they are from a religious standpoint of what is sin and what is not. Those principles allow them to stop helping their fellow human being and say they are too busy with their "service" or their income is dedicated to something else. They are inconsistent in actions and beliefs in that they will treat members one way and outsiders another, and change in a heartbeat if Watchtower tells them to do so.

    but you still chose the more "edgy" people in the congregation as your friends and you still enjoyed yourself, even if there were a lot of phony constraints.

    One must be careful saying such. Many were burned in one way or another by their "friends." Many left with depression over their experiences.

    I could go on. But I hope you get the point. What you say fits me, but all have different experiences.

  • quellycatface

    I remember having some lovely times when I was young. Outings to the zoo, assembly stay overs, ice skating etc.... I was also allowed worldly friends as my Dad was a non-jw. It got complicated when I was an adult!!

  • 88JM

    I do regret not starting my fade sooner and not investigating my doubts.

    I must say I really admire these 14/15 year olds who are waking up sooner than ever - I wish I had their courage.

  • Magnum

    You touched a nerve with me.

    Maybe that is the case with you; I can’t say because I don’t know your circumstances, experiences, personal qualities, etc. I don’t know what your life was like as a JW or what it would have been like had you never been one. The problem is that you assume that everybody’s situation is like yours. That’s a naïve assumption.

    You have no idea what my life would have been like had I not been a JW, and you have no idea what it was like as a JW. THE PRIME OF MY LIFE WAS STOLEN. I was miserable for thirty years. The only thing that kept me going was the hope of relief in a paradise that never came. My wife and I suffered immensely. I can’t give all the details because doing so would identify me, but I can give a general description. There are very few JWs that have lived the way we did and experienced what we have. We were in the ministry almost seven days a week, sometimes all day. Sometimes we were out until 11pm conducting studies after long days door-to-door with people we didn’t want to be with (most other JWs). Some months we put in 140 hours in miserable heat in very difficult territories (high-class people who looked down their noses at us). I faced guns a number of times. We lived in many different primitive structures that I can’t describe. We had nowhere to keep bound volumes and the clothes required of a JW. We were always penniless. I hated getting up meeting parts and I had many of them. I had very many responsibilties which were very difficult. I and my wife were miserable for thirty years, but we kept going because we thought we were doing right.

    One of the things that I look back on now and get furious about is that not I only did I suffer and work hard as a JW, but I actually PAID to do it. I spent a lot of money on gas in the ministry. I bought clothes I otherwise wouldn’t have needed. I wore vehicles out. I donated money to the org. The biggest way that I paid, though, was in working with no compensation. Thousands and thousands of hours in the ministry. Thousands of hours going to meetings (they consume more than just the time actually spent at them). Thousands of hours working up parts. Etc. All with no pay. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. The company I work for now has lectured me and told me to never work off the clock; I am to be paid for all my work. I get 56 cents a mile compensation to use my car for work purposes. But JWs never compensated me a cent; they made me pay them to work for them.

    I remember one time about twenty years ago when I and my wife and another sister we knew well and liked were in service near a big body of water. We saw some guys jet skiing. I can’t describe the feeling I had then. I wanted so badly to be able to do things like that. But there I was standing on the shore in cheap dress clothes longingly watching them, having spent hours miserble in service (with a lot more to go). And those guys were out on the beautiful, refreshing water on jet skis. I never got to do anything like that. JWdom consumed my life – seven days a week of misery. A short while after the jet ski incident, my mother, my wife, and I were at a certain place where a lot of tourists went and people gathered for recreation. My mother (a JW) said “Why can’t we just take one day a week and do something fun?” We were never able to. We had no afternoons and no weekends – no time for fun.

    I gave up a lot. I had vast ability academically. One summer when I was about eleven, I took a test to see if could get into a private school. The headmaster of the school told my mother that I scored so highly on the test that I could do ‘anything I wanted in life’. I remember the test and I remember critiquing it as I took it. At eleven years old, I had the ability to critically analyze an IQ test. When I was in my early twenties, I was correcing errors in textbooks – errors involving complex math and physics. One world expert disputed my claims until finally he was forced to change his book (if you don’t believe that, PM me; I can give details). When I was in the third and fourth grades I corrected my teacher in English and math. But I viewed school as a waste because of being a JW and thinking the sky was falling. I worked menial labor for poverty wages.

    So not only did the org steal the prime of my life; it RUINED MY FUTURE. I’m over fifty. Too late for any kind of meaningul education. Sure, I could go to school for personaI satisfaction, but I don’t need or want to go for that. I have a vast library and can satisfy my desire to learn at home. What I mean is that it’s too late for me to do what I would like to do if I could – get a PhD in biomedical science or an MD or DVM. The org stole that opportunity from me.

    Some might get tired of reading what I’m about to write because I’ve writtten it several times lately on other threads, but I see the need to write it again. I have zero retirement prospects – no pension, no savings, etc. I work a very low-paying, stressful, physically and mentally demanding job. I recently reconnected with a couple of guys I’ve known since the first grade. They both are aware of my academcic abiltiy and both were dumbfounded when I told them how much money I make. One is retired and his retirement pay is over twice what I make working full-time. Before he retired, he made five times what I make. The other guy still works and makes five times what I make. Neither of them was very smart academically. The son of one of them is 29, and he is an uneducated, cocky, smartass. He makes $22,000 a year more than I do, and he just works for a local electrical supply company.

    I have spent so much time applying for jobs that I’m sick of it. The problem now is that most job applications are not done in person. I don’t look good on paper; I need to see employers in person. What am I supposed to put on a resume – thirty years in a cult, septic tank maintenance, janitorial work, window washing, construction work, lawn maintenance, painting? Yeah, I know I can try to make those things sound better and I can list a lot of the JW stuff I did like counseling, teaching classes including public speaking courses, etc. (all BS), but most applications ask for the last two or three or more employers’ names. They want to see stable work histories. Well, I don’t have a history like that. I don’t have supervisors they can call. As a JW, I did a little window-washing with Joe, septic tank cleaning with Bob, office cleaning with Sam, lawn maintenance with Jim, etc. That doesn’t work on a job application.

    JWs stole my life. They made promises. I lived up to my end of the deal; they didn’t.

    Another point. You seem to indicate that JWs made us into people better than we would have been had we not been JWs. Maybe they made you into a better person; but you can’t say they made me into one. I think I would have been a better person had I not been a JW. I would have been less judgemental and smug and self-righteous. I would have spent time trying to make the world a better place. JWs made me miserable and thus made me frustrated and more grouchy at times than I would have been.

    I hate these posts wherein individuals say things like ‘we should be more forgiving towards the org’, ‘JWs didn’t really steal our lives’, ‘being a JW kept us out of trouble’, ‘being a JW made us into better people’, etc. The guy who said we should be forgiving has never even been a JW! Wow, how presumptuous! You presume to tell me I should be forgiving for something about which you know nothing?

    There was a man who was wrongly imprisoned in a hellhole jungle prison in a backwards country for thirty years. He was miserable the whole time. It was hot and humid. The bugs were ferocious. He could not sleep for the heat, humidity, & bugs. He was mistreated. What little food that was provided was almost inedible. There was constant sickness with no medical treatment. He suffered mentally and physically.

    There was another man who, for 7 years, was wrongly imprisoned in a U.S. federal prison for white collar criminals. He had air conditioning, ample tasty food, television, medical treatment, etc.

    They both were released from prison. The man that was in the U.S. prison says something like “Well, our lives weren’t really stolen. Being in prison kept us from doing some bad things that we almost surely would have done had we not been in prison. It taught us self-control as we learned to speak to the guards respectfully when they weren’t always nice to us. Living in such close contact with others taught us people skills that we almost surely wouldn’t have acquired.”

    I hope you get my point. The experiences of the two men were completely different. The one in the cushy prison can talk all the kumbaya BS he wants, but try convincing the guy that was in the jungle prision of his kumbaya BS.

    stillin, I’m sorry. It might sound as though I’m mad at you for posting. I’m not; I just strongly disagree. You have a right to post what you did. My wife and I just strongly feel that our lives were stolen and we’re mad at the org. This subject is a hot topic at our house. We talk everyday about it.

    Just yesterday, I was looking at the job website I was looking at jobs in North Dakota because I’ve been hearing there are a lof of higher-paying jobs there. I saw a job for $200.00+/hr. I clicked on it. It was for an emergency medicine physician. I told my wife about it. I said ‘Just think. I could have easily been an emergency med physician'. A lot of residencies are only three years, and I would have been paid during residency over twice what I make now. After residency, I could have made $200.00/hr. That’s $8000.00/week. That’s over eight times what she & I make together, and the work would be far easier and more interesting and fulfilling. She said it’s just sickening, and then she started telling me to apply for med school (I have all the prerequistes - organic chemistry, physics, etc.). I told her that at my age, I could only get accepted at a Caribbean school, and that residencies are about to become more competitive. I could get an MD degree, but might not be able to get a residency.

    Anyway, money, ways to retire or get better jobs, etc. are everyday topics at our house because of what being JWs did to us. Every decision is a big one for us now because of our lowly pay. We have to do virtually everything ourselves – car repairs, home repairs, etc. We have little time; we stay exhausted.

    The org did steal my life and it can never give me back what it took. I will die suffering from the thievery. Some of you say things like ‘well, make the best of your life from now on’. I’m imprisoned in a job that I dread. I dread my next work day. I work outside in extreme heat and humidity. I bend over and stoop down all day. I am reminded every minute of my life of the org’s theft of it.

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    in a way, it just feels like you're in prison for life without any chance of parole. I mean, there are no real physical guards, but there are many, many guards on every corner, doorway, tower and post in a way. Constant monitoring by elders, family asking where you've been, so called friends gossiping about your absence and so forth, there are many guards watching you in a sense, escape is very difficult.

  • stillin

    NotNew, I don't mean to sound like I'm saying get over it. Life isn't over. A different life isn't going to happen. What it is is what it is. I don't think any less of somebody who is angry about being duped. People smarter than me get conned every day.

    i made a mistake in not reacting to my gut feelings sooner. A lot of the things that are screwed up now are my own fault for being so credulous and gullible.

    who said that life was fair? Only an idiot thinks that. But that's why your windshield is so much bigger than your rear-view mirror. Maybe you didn't get the appreciation that you deserve from the JW's. Now you know.

    Magnum, I'm sorry. I can feel your pain. I, too, missed out on what would probably have been a medical education. I, too, lost more than 30 years of my life. And that's that. I think I put too much of an investment into religion. Any religion. My fault for being so naive. I'm trying to make something worthwhile out of the experience and I think that considering my own part in the scam is necessary to go on To a better future

  • KateWild


    Thank you so much for your story. I really appreciated reading it. You are not painting a rosey picture you are being honest and that what I need. I am not much younger than you trying to build my life together and the full reality of the matter is, I may not be able to have back what I once achieved before the WT.

    Thank you Magnum

    Kate xx

  • Violia

    My life would have more intergerty and DECENCY with or without the Gd WTS. That is straight out of the WTS playbook. Also, everyting OTWO said

    Stillin, you are still a jw.



    ............................................................................. The OP Is Mind Boggling

    ................................................It looks like the "WBT$ Public Relations Department" wrote it..


    ...Your Asking Us To Look For A Kernel Of Corn..................In A Bucket Of WBT$ Shit..


    ...................................................................................................................................................  photo mutley-ani1.gif...OUTLAW

  • stillin

    OK, Outlaw. Maybe I can only see it from my own point of view. Some of the responses have certainly been eye-openers for me.

    the fact is, I'm not mad. I'm disappointed that this organization isn't what they told me that they are. I hate that I made such a fool of myself for so many years, and that through my family, they still have their hooks into me.

    I just figured that I, myself, got something worth keeping out of the religion. Like somebody noted, graciously, in one of the posts, you don't know what my circumstances were, or how I am made. I would have known if I had been in a bucket of s*it, and I wasn't.

    I'm sorry for the offense I have caused some here. You have had an entirely different experience than I did.

    Keep the faith, though! They may still screw me over big time!

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