How long was it for you?
I'm curious: how many years were you in before you left? By left, I mean either df'd and decided not to go back, or da'd, or faded, or even just realized it was a crock but stuck around anyway for family reasons?
We're told in la-la-land that it's the newly baptized, those who are "spiritually immature" that mostly leave. But from getting to know people here, I get the impression that an awful lot of us are long-termers (I was in from birth until my early thirties).
I was born in and baptized at 14. I went in active at age 35 and left totally 4 years ago at age 36. My last meeting was the Memorial 1997.
I served as an elder from 1991 to 1994.
'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing'
I was raised as a Witness, 3rd generation, father an elder, sister pioneered.
I was baptised in my late teens, did everything a good witness girl was supposed to do and be.
Then as I approached my late 20s, I realised there was something wrong. Too many contradictions, double meanings, injustices. I finally decided to follow my conscience and looked into things.
I left, and am not disassociated nor disfellowshipped. I did not leave because I wanted to be bad nor have I lost my faith in God. I have a better relationship with Him than ever, and I am happier than I have ever been.
I agree with your impression that an awful lot of us are long-termers. I was raised from birth as a JW and stuck with strong till my mid 30's pioneering off and on, elder's wife, family members pioneering and in Bethel etc. etc. but did a slow fall for about 10 years before I just stopped going. But I haven't made it official because I too have family I'm not prepared to lose association with and watch their pain and suffering because they feel they have to live up to the shunning rules.
So I join the ranks of those who stick around for family reasons even though I'm not active. I'm too burned out to try to be active, so my family just trys to continue to encourage me.
My mom started seriously studying when I was four, and I left when I was 17, so I wracked up a lucky thirteen years in the organization.
'Course, I was always one of those good witness kids... For several years before I was baptized, at the very mature and enlightened age of 13 (on my "birthday", even), I went out in service 30 or 45 hours during summer months - all on my own inititive, too, because my mom worked full time. I had an essay printed in the Awake! about "Why I don't celebrate Christmas" when I was 11. After I was baptized, I auxiliary pioneered I think 8 times in the next four years, during vacations. For several years, I even tried to teach myself Russian so that I could go "serve where the need was greater". (Now, it's just because I like languages.) I once or twice suffered the appeleation of "a pillar in the congregation". So I wasn't exactly what you would call "spiritually immature".
Until, of course, I grew fed up with the cognitive dissonance and left, at which point I was retroactively deemed very immature indeed.
I wasn't raised in the WTS, but was baptized at 16 and apostate by 19. I'm 22 now and it's been almost 4 years since I've been active.
It's interesting that so many people that have logged in a lot of years with the WTS are able to finally realize what happened to them and get out, in spite of decades of beliefs being hammered in.
On the other hand, maybe it's easier for long-timers than newbies to wake up because they have time to observe different things going on in the organization and building up cognitive dissonance from studying the publications and seeing inconsistencies. That'd be an interesting topic for debate.
otoh, i think its fairly obvious that someone who was new, tried it for a bit and opted out, would be less likely to seek out other xjw's in places like this. their experience would be nothing like yours. so it isnt really a fair sampling.
a little different question i ask myself is how many leave for misconduct as opposed to ideological reasons. of course this is very hard to judge. we hear that the vast majority of df's are for immorality and i have no reason to doubt that but that is only a part of the story. those who leave by choice for ideological reasons are, of course, more likely to choose means that dont involve df'ing if they can. also, i would think that some have doubts but stick around for family reasons, but end up being df'ed for conduct reasons, either because they felt the need to force the issue, or just due to the sheer mental imbalance that results from crisis of faith. either way, the act of leaving was precipitated by doubts, not conduct.
jws find it helpful to believe that most leave for conduct. whereas sites like this attract those that leave out of disbeliefs for obvious reaons. so the numbers here will be skewed the other way.
well now im just babbling. its late.
I was in for 24 years, pioneer, book study servant, MS, traveling speaker, assembly parts, the whole nine yards.
In a mere three months some relatively minor things happened that caused me to get out of Watchtower Slavery(tm). Things had been building up for at least a year before that though, and those "minor" things were the straw that broke my dub back.
I walked away, was condemned by everyone including life-long friends. I flipped them all the bird, shunned them and never looked back. Who needs "friends" like that, anyway? That was 29 years ago. Many of them are still utterly braindead WT zombies. I worked for years to reclaim my brain. I'm still working on keeping it tuned up!
Mother studied when I was 3 <about 1967> I was baptised in 1983, became inactive about 1995, woke up last year! yay. Never been happier in my life.
Are you EWO who used to post on H20?
If you are, is ANYONE posting over there anymore? :)