If you want a quick and easy exit, try this: Just stop going to all meetings, field service, etc. Then when ANYONE, including your wife, asks you for your 'reasons', just say these FIVE MAGIC WORDS: 'i have nothing to say'. That's it.....say NOTHING else. No matter what is asked or who asks it, just continue using the FIVE MAGIC WORDS. 'i have nothing to say'. They cannot DF you for saying nothing. Even the U.S. Bill of Rights gives citizens the 'right to remain silent' so as not to incriminate themselves. So the same principle applies with the JWs. You will surely get some high pressure guilt-inducing comments and questions when you stop attending. Just do not engage at all. Your wife and relatives will just have to get used to the fact that you aren't participating in their JW mind-games any longer. Stay strong and good luck!!
Advice on fading needed
Why are they your only 2 options? I would opt not write anything to anyone and simply fade, mental illness would be a valid reason as what you are hearing goes against your conscience but don't tell that to any JW, just the mental illness part! I suffered with anxiety before I stopped going, I literally had panic attacks going to a meeting as it made me so angry listening to the nonsense.
The embarrassing (for your wife) phase of being asked about you will pass, it is temporary and within a few weeks or months someone else will be the focus of attention and you will be a footnote.
She will be going thru a period of anxiety over this, so ressure her you love her (assuming you do) and do not be confrontational about the cult, instead be relaxed and happy so she will then learn to be relaxed and happy (happier) about it too.
The thing is, Wallievase, nobody can tell you the exactly right and perfect thing for YOU to do. You are gonna have to weigh the alternatives and make your own decision. It's like asking other people, should I get married? Should I get divorced? Should I take an overseas job? Etc., etc., etc. Not even your nearest and dearest know what's right for YOU, not really, not completely, not the way you know deep down in your heart what the best thing is. And the best thing might change as time goes on and your circumstances change, too.
There will be both positive and negative consequences to ANY decision you make. And nobody else will have to live with those consequences, good or bad. Just you.
Might help to take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, then for each possible choice list the pros on one side and the cons on the other side -- see how they add up and balance out, or not.
My own one suggestion would be as someone said above NOT to write any kind of letter - putting you on record that can be used against you later - also, writing anything to the elders is putting you under their authority, acknowledging they have some kind of power over you and some kind of right to know your thoughts. THEY DON'T.
The "five magic words" is good advice, too. And once you've said that, change the subject or get away fast. Don't let anyone grill you; they may have been sent to scope you out.
Welcome to human freedom, wonderful and scary at the same time. We none of us can make perfect predictions or choices because we never have perfect knowledge, or can foresee all the results that will come. Just count the cost, and then do what feels right in your gut, and that's probably the best you can do in any situation. But understand: you're only a slave if you stay chained up - but the chain is already broken, and you know that.
Good luck to you.
I agree: NOTHING IN WRITING. It's the same as handing your enemy a box of bullets.
Using scriptures to debate still brings on the "A" label, so if you go that route you must be inordinately calm and not appear to be upset. Just ask her opinion on the discrepancy and see where she takes it.
UNSEEN made-up illnesses are the best. Migraines bring on great sympathy (perhaps triggered by mold in the kh ductwork? someone's perfume?). Irritable bowel or repeated bouts of diarrhea bring instant sympathy. Depression is a hands-off area for the elders so that works if you are not overly cheerful.
Best wishes for your fade/withdrawal journey!
If you want to help your wife to see things, you can ASK QUESTIONS ONLY. Let her try to research the answers.
For example, the Dist Conv Drama about Achan -- what kind of justice is there in allowing many innocent Israelites to die in battle with Ai because one (other) man (Achan) had stolen some of the spoils from Jericho? Such "Collective Punishment" even violates the Geneva Convention indicating that it is seen universally as unjust.
Don't accept "You just have to trust in Jehovah" or "Jehovah's ways are higher than man's ways".
Remember, Achan confessed when confronted about his "sin", just as did King David. Whose sin was greater? The theft of silver & gold & linen or the murder and adultery of David? David is forgiven and remains as King. Achan is stoned to death AS IS HIS ENTIRE FAMILY. JUSTICE?
How does this apply in the Congregation today? To me, it appears that Kings & Princes (Elders & their family) are more easily forgiven for "sins" than are the R&F and commoner JWs. JUSTICE?
The doctrine forbids you to store and use your own blood. Why? [Ans: Blood must be poured out upon the ground -- returned to Jehovah -- NOT stored.] So why is it OK to have blood tests performed where they store your blood for testing? Often hospitals associated with medical schools will store the blood of some patients for years or decades. Why is this acceptable? [Ans: That is a conscience decision.] Then why is it not a decision of conscience to choose to store your own blood for an upcoming surgery? Is a "little" stored OK? But a full unit is NOT OK? Does not that violate "he who is faithful in what is least........?"
Further, it is now acceptable to accept a transfusion of "fractions" or "componants" of blood. This comes from 100s or 1000s of units of donated blood which has been stored for days or weeks or longer. Why is this OK when it is from "stored" blood?
Remember, you can never say the doctrine is wrong or that you do not agree. You can only question WHY? Force her to reason.
OH YEAH, NEVER NEVER NEVER WRITE A LETTER ABOUT ANYTHING OR PUT ANYTHING IN WRITING.
Good luck....not easy to cope and there is no wisdom that can be given here.
Slowly miss meetings and don't give an explanation to anyone.
Tell others you"re coping with some doubts but make sure you never say anything agaist the GB or the watchtower. You do that and you will be DF.
Was married for 26 years and my marriage ended because i did not believe anymore.
Moved to a Spanish congregation for a while even though i could not speak the language and slowly faded. It was beautiful exit.
As already recommended, don't put anything in writing. If you're interested, here are links to threads with my observations and some great comments from others:
"A man that stands for nothing will fall for anything".
This is the hardest part...when people get wind of your attempt to fade, they circle the wagons and try to strong arm you into snaping back into line...my mistake at this stage was saying too much- here are a few thoughts...
as everyone has already said...don't put anything in writing- your wife is panicked right now...try to remain calm for her (this is very stressful for her with people from the congregation pressuring her/looking down on her...she may think of it as a failure on her part). I also agree that you should have a "broken record" response for the elders/congregation; such as saying every time they want to talk to you that "you don't want to talk about it", or that you are doing alright....I went the "I need mental help route" and it resulted in my family wanting me committed.....so just try to relax...say you are just under a lot of stress and pressure right now that is making you feel depressed (but not so depressed that you are out of control).
Maybe suggest going on holiday, or some kind of fun family activity (not theocratic)...and try to relax with your family. Armageddon is not coming tomorrow, you have time to step back and slow the fade a bit if things are TOO tense right now. You can still maybe slack on meeting attendance (sighting stress and anxiety)...service too for that matter- dont accept any invitations to go out in service with an elder for "encouragement", maybe just go out in service as a family if you have to...make it really EASY stuff (I couldn't bring myself to even leave magazines with my return visits at the end of my fade...I would just go and visit my return visits- insist on going to the door myself, and never talk about the "truth" or leave literature)
I know that the new JW.org campaign is coming up...just cite anxiety and stress again...try to opt for easier activities like visiting sick/infirmed...tell your family how good it feels to encourage those ones by visiting and reading to them (my mom does this a lot now in service...goes to the old age homes and reads to people)-
Best of luck...I do remember how hard this process is, and where I failed in my fade I hope you will succeed with your family intact!!!