I know this was directed at minimus, but I want to share too since I'm new here! I was more or less born into the JW religion and raised as one. My mom was a pretty strict believer, but she didn't get baptized until I was 9, "surprisingly" my parents got divorced three years later. (my father was not a witness)
I was always looked down upon in the congregation because of this, no father, because my mom had to work for the first time in her life we were pretty poor. So since I didn't have any friends I tried to be more "spiritual" by answering at meetings, giving better talks, going out in service, etc... It didn't gain me respect, but I did get some priveleges, eventually becoming a MS when I was 19-20. I had a lot of zeal and was even afraid of looking at "apostate" sites on the internet back then.
Things changed though when I got married. I was able to talk to someone about my doubts, my wife. Since she never really wanted to be a witness anyway but went along because her whole family was she had an open mind about the witnesses. We started to see together the hypocricy in the congregaton, that there really wasn't any love, that everyone was in their little cliques and the brothers were more concerned that certain ones were pioneers than the fact that they may lead a loose lifestyle. They seemed to look the other way. It was these sorts of things that motivated me and my wife to just stop going to meetings. I don't feel that I could have gotten out without my wife being the way that she is, but her lack of brainwashing helped her to see things quite clearly. In fact I would say that I was more brainwashed than she was. We felt there was no way that this could be gods organization.
Her parents and my mom tried to convince us to wait on Jehovah, they had seen the same things that we have but still believed that it was God's organization. But we already had serious doubts about even major doctinal issues and this was even without doing any research on the internet! So we have only stated to our parents that we just didn't like the atmosphere at the meetings and thats all. It kept them from turning us in and shunning us I guess. After a couple of years of not going to the meetings they have all but ceased trying to get us to come back, they didn't even ask us to attent the District Convention this past year, I'm hoping that Memorial will come and go next year without a word, but we will probably have to go. The price we pay I guess to still have contact with our parents.
I used to sometimes wonder if we made the right choice or not, whether the Watchtower is really god's organization, but after careful research I have been fully assured in my mind that it is definitely not. The only problem is I wish I could share this information with my family members, to keep them from wasting their lives further in the BORGanization, but I have to constantly bite my toungue around them. I value my realtionship with them too much. But it really is sad.
Its sad when I see my newly baptized 18 year old brother in law put off college because he gets no support from his parents who would rather see him scrape by doing some menial job for no pay and be a "good witness". Its sad when my even younger sister in law is encouraged by her mother to go to a special high school where she only has to go to school two days a week so she can go out in service the rest of the week and be a "good witness". Its sad when I see her probably someday soon marrying some guy when she's 18 and being a witness house slave for the rest of her life. It's sad when I see my whole family growing old, putting off real life because they are in expectation of some fantasy paradise where 6 Billion people will be killed.
So I have to go on, smiling when they talk about the latest magazine article or talk, or how this event or that event is signaling that "its getting closer" when I know they will probably die of old age in "this system", a whole life in expectation of the great pumpkin.
So I really wish I could write that DA letter to my local congregation like so many of you have here. I'd be free to say who I am and where I live, but because of my family I have to hide all of that. I really salute the courage of you who have made that choice and wish that someday I could do that with the rest of my family.
Edited by - RandomTask on 5 August 2002 1:47:13