My name is ‘Cecil’. As you can imagine I am not posting with my real name. Call it what you want – but I am not yet ready to 'jump out of the closet', as we put in my mother-tongue. Not yet...
Where to start: I’m in my thirties, 4th gen. JW, was baptized at age 16, married a sister when I was 20 years old. I became MS and elder when I still was quite young (- too young, when I look back today). Everything went well for some years. Then I started having doubts about that 1914-chronology. I cannot remember all the details, why I started doing research on it, what caught my attention. But for the last 10 years I have been doing research on WTS-chronology. That's where my troubles began. I found out that a lot of things that were taught, simply do not fit with secular history - and in some cases even do not fit with what the Bible tells as well.
I kept my research and its results for myself. Did not talk to anybody about it. Not to my wife, my best friend, my parents - nobody. Why? Could 3, 4, 5 or 6 million JW's be wrong? It had to be my mind, my understanding, my faith that did not work properly. It could by no means be, that The Truth was, well - not true. I had to convince myself for years that I was wrong and what the WTS taught was/had to be right... And I can tell you – I have been fighting to get through my doubts. I really kept on doing my best, being loyal towards the WTS and The Truth. Years went by and I - in my deepest thoughts – kept upon a secret: Something felt wrong, it felt so wrong, that there had to be something about it.
Then came 'sudden death', my personal Waterloo, the ultimate nightmare: I was disfellowshipped when I decided to leave my first wife and marry another woman - a JW, she was disfellowshipped too. You may agree in df'ing people or reject this practice. But in my case it was right to df me (Pls. allow me one single comment on that: I know what I did was wrong – that’s why I think it was right to df me! Controversial opinion maybe – but that’s how I still feel about it)
We started attending the meetings very soon after we were disfellowshipped - but in another congregation, far away from where things had happened. Even far away from ‘home’ it took us 3 years to come back – we attended every meeting in those years, and felt it was quite tough to come back (get our life back, if you know what I mean?!). We asked to be reinstated twice and finally were allowed to come back. Quite a long time - where you have all the time to think, but do not have the peace to do it!
Do I have to mention that our lives were smashed into pieces (... you are right: Others lives were destroyed too!!!) when we were disfellowshipped - we lost literally everything: Friends, family, our hometown... The fact, that I had been serving as and elder for several years – HLC too – when we were disfellowshipped and was a reg. pioneer did not make things easier, as you can imagine.
Well, we were reinstated and have been fighting since then to become ‘normal’ again, to get our lives back. A fight, that I by now believe I'll never win. I did not even have a clue what it meant to be disfellwoshipped, a lesson that I have learned in recent years. Well - I do not mean that I do/did not deserve what happened - just that it was/is very hard to deal with. Most JW – and I am thinking of the elders here especially – often simply do not know anything about what it means to be disfellowshipped. Not anybody who has not felt on his own body and mind, how it feels to be disfellowshipped (think about the meaning of that word!) knows what it means.
Well, now you might ask: Why did you go back, when today you are not sure about the truth. When you were not sure about the truth already at the time you wre df’ed. Why didn’t you stay out then; you had the chance to stay out – and screwed up…
We went back for one main reason: We wanted to go back, be Jehovahs Witnesses again. We wanted to show, that we were very sorry about what we had done wrong. But of course as we had our lifes in the organisation, our family and all our friends, that also became a reason to go back.
Back to my new/old problem: I became aware of some problems regarding the WTS-chronology in 1991 and decided to write a little booklet for my own use on my (pre-Internet-)research. It took me about 7 months to complete my research, and I decided by then not to mention, what I had found out to anybody else. I kept my problems for myself for years and was just hoping that quite soon everything would be corrected. But nothing happened. When we were disfellowshipped I had the time to do more research – then on the internet too - on the WTS-chronology. I became more and more dis-illusioned on that issue, while we at the same time were fighting to come back, or should I say stay in touch with the congregation.
When we were reinstated everything seemed to be spring and summer for some months - if you do understand, what I mean. But to forget about what I had had found out about the 607-chronology I could not! I started asking questions…
Can you imagine how it feels: Here I am with my questions and my doubts on something, that won't leave me for the rest of my life. And if I bring up the topic, I risk to be disfellowshipped again - because I know that I won't stop. I'll loose everything once more. And i do not know if my wife or I myself could survive that... But I have to do something about it - my life is literally on halt on the issue right now. It has to end. And I have been thinking about what to do: Just quit coming to the meetings, let things slow down and fade into inactivity. Then I think about it again – that would not be me! I think I'd rather face the facts. But nothing is decided and right now I am looking for a place to hide - to finish thinking…
PS: I don’t know if this just is meant as an intro or maybe this post is only for myself - just to put into words what I have been feeling about "The Truth" and being a JW in the past 20plus years. Anyhow: I decided to post it today, and share my thoughts with you! Sometimes putting into words what you feel or think can help stepping forward in the right direction. Of course I could have put into words what i think and keep it for myself. But… well – I think I’ll stop here! Sorry for being so long in my intro!