Leaving the org and marriage possibly ending

by atacrossroads 51 Replies latest jw friends

  • dubstepped

    atacrossroads, I wanted to extend heartfelt sympathy. My situation is somewhat different, as my wife and I faded together, and now are just waiting on announcement of our disassociation, but I think that maybe I can offer something that might help. I have seen people go out in different ways. Some, like us, had concerns for a long time and we expressed them to one another about minor things, but as they built up over the years we took them more seriously. I then started to do the unthinkable and researched outside of the organization's publications and my fears were confirmed. I even asked permission from my wife to do so before going on sites like this and others. It was a huge step for me, and I knew that it would affect both of us, so I asked out of respect. The rest is history, though my wife had a hard time at first, and I had a harder time than her later, but we worked it out together because of mutually shared concerns that we discussed little by little over many years.

    In your case the dam just seemed to break. A sudden event triggered your concerns and research into the organization. Boom, like a bomb was dropped. No time to prepare, and it isn't like you asked to see what you saw any more than my wife and I did, but your awakening was more sudden and one-sided.

    All of that is to say that I wonder if you could try to ease your husband into this new state somehow. It seems from what you wrote that it went pretty quickly. Have you guys discussed things that didn't seem kosher over the years? Is he totally blind and unwilling to discuss anything that he sees as wrong? You can't erase what's been done, but perhaps you can turn back the clock a bit by finding common ground as it relates to the organization. Maybe you could even pay it a compliment and acknowledge something positive about it, as few things are all good or all bad. That's sales 101 (or what we were taught about going about our preaching work in the organization), to find common ground in a situation where people are far apart on something. Then work it out slowly. If he had issues with something in the past, maybe bring up that thing that he had problems with and talk it out a bit. Be self-deprecating if need be to get him to let down his defenses. Under the massive ego that the organization has people put on like a mask of control and fear is a person, likely a really great, thoughtful, sincere person from what you've said. He may be able to let that down with time and patience.

    There was a video posted on here from a young couple that left the organization together. He was the first to look into things, and she later followed? What was the key? Among other things, trust. She knew that she could trust him in other things, so that trust in him and his sincerity and the conversations they had leading up to that time made her realize that he wouldn't be criticizing the organization without good reason. That helped her to let her guard down. The same thing happened with my wife and I. We had tremendous trust in one another and had been through a lot of wars together over the years. This wasn't the first time we discussed doubts or issues with things in the organization. In both of our cases it isn't like it was planned out that way and we just had something that you guys don't, but it just happened that way. How can you reestablish trust and build on that? That is something only you can answer. However, if you just take an opposite position and don't have respect for where he is, you will end up losing him. My wife and I made sure to respect where each other was even it if meant leaving at a slower pace and allowing the other to have the time and space they needed. Maybe you can slow down a bit and maybe that would help him not to be so freaked out. You have to admit that when JW's get married they never see themselves in your position right now, or ours for that matter. Change is hard, especially when it is never even considered as an option, and JW's have a penchant for thinking inside a small box and thinking that nothing in there will ever change.

    I really wish you two well. I'd love to see you both work this out if you could. Being able to leave together is one of the most amazing things we've ever done together and has brought us so much closer. And that's pretty freaking close, as we work together daily and are together pretty much 24/7 and have been for many years. This has been an amazing time in our lives, difficult no doubt, soul crushing at times, but the freedom and joy now is unparalleled. You never know, it may be possible in your case if you exercise patience. Then again, I also understand why it is hard to exercise that patience. We just DA'ed for that very reason, we didn't want to play those games anymore. It is tough to pick and choose which battles seem productive.

  • Giordano

    I can appreciate how difficult this is for you and your husband. Unfortunately sweet reason doesn't work that well when one mate is solidly in and the other is not. You won't get much of a chance to show him TTATT.

    When you are sure that he is not going to change and he is sure you will not be changing back you will both need to reexamine your marriage and the desire to stay together in a relationship that needs to be filled with love, trust and respect. Life is too short to waste on an unhappy relationship.

    Announcing that you are going to start celebrating holidays may indeed become a Judicial matter or at the least an awkward or spiteful time for your husband. You won't enjoy it nor will he. However a lot of people do go on vacation during the Christmas Holidays.

    My wife and I and our son did that. We'd visit our JW Moms then take off to someplace that was fun and had some Christmas Spirit.

    We once stayed in Gettysburg and the Inn had people singing Christmas Carols while we dined. We walked the historic town and enjoyed the lights. Another time we celebrated Christmas in Taos. Once at a ski resort .

    For you it's about enjoying a bit of Christmas for him it's simply a vacation.

    There's all kinds of things that you can do that will be pleasing and not demeaning to either of you.

  • PorkyFree

    Hi Atacrossroads,

    Like DubStepped said, it is far better to get out together as a couple. I can also vouch for the fact that my wife and I have never (in 42 years of very close marriage) been closer than we are now. I had a similar experience to you. I had some doubts about a few things. My wife & I had discussed a few things that we did not agree with, just briefly in passing, like the overlapping generations. I started by doing research only in Society publications and found some misapplied scriptures and changed dates etc, that I shared with my wife. I then did some research at the library, and finally online. I waited till I had a pretty compelling list, with the appropriate scriptures and WT Socy publication references. Then I said to my wife, look this is serious... we have always said that we believe because it is undeniably truth. If it is not truth we will not be a party to it. We have told students to examine their religion and if it teaches untruths, or things that cant be backed up by scripture, then they should leave it and study with JW's. Now, we have the boot on the other foot, and we have to examine our beliefs by applying the same logic and quest for truth. She agreed, I shared what I had found, and we both decided together that we would fade. It had been our intention to do this gradually, but as I had resigned as an elder a few years before, we had no reasons to go to meetings as we knew the teachings were false, so we just stopped, dead. That was just 4 months ago. We have never been happier. We joke and laugh now all the time, and are so extra close that I would never have believed it possible if I had not experienced it myself.

    I know that you have your work cut out for you. It will not be easy. But here is my suggestion... you know your husband, you say he is a good man and treats you well. You will know of his particular hates, things that he holds dear to him. Whatever that thing is, try to plant the seeds by using something allied to that deeply held feeling. With my wife it was the child abuse, for someone else it might be abuse of donated funds or the begging of Stephen Lett, others that are more studious might find that it is the 607 date error. There will be a trigger... you just have to find it and gently let him see it. A direct approach will just bring up the "auto deploying apostate screens" - we both wish you success in getting him out. personally I would not take the openly annoying steps of celebrating holidays etc in front of him, as this will just harden him up. I would show that you are a more likeable person now that you don't have the big guilt trips many times per week. By all means get as many ideas as you can from this forum, and keep us informed of how you get on. We are all here to help. After 55 + years in the Borg we got out, and so we hope you can save your husband too and enjoy life together as we are doing!

  • Anon2
    Hi atacrossroads. So sorry for what you must be feeling. My husband has been dead for a long time, and neither of us were JW's, so it wasn't an issue between us. Don't want to imagine the pain it would cause to have religion between you and someone you love and intended to spend your life with. Marriage is a wonderful thing and I hope if it's still what you both want, that yours will work and you can each respect the others' choice. I admire your courage and wish you strength Will keep you in my prayers.
  • Scully


    Welcome to the community. I was in your situation just over 20 years ago, when 'the truth about The Truth™' was just starting to dawn on me. Mr Scully and I had 3 young children at the time. We didn't have a computer. There was no Google. But I started watching a televised university course on Social Psychology and began seeing correlations between cult behaviours the prof was describing and things we were experiencing with the JWs. While Mr Scully was at work, I would load the children in the car and drive across town to the library - the kids would look at picture books, and I would read a couple of chapters of Crisis of Conscience.

    I was going through terrible postpartum depression, and was treated horribly by the local Witnesses because of it. Rumors were spread that Sister Scully didn't want to go in Service™ anymore because I was having panic attacks at the doors. I asked for help, perhaps I could go on Bible Studies™ with some Pioneer­™ Sisters™? One of those "amazing" Pioneers™ approached me after a meeting shortly after this request and told me to "Get your own damn Bible Studies™."

    There were other abuses that occurred which I've posted about before, but finally, the straw that broke the camel's back was when my then "best friend" told me "If you're going to turn your back on The Truth™, you may as well take your three beautiful children in the back yard and blow their heads off with a gun. That way they won't go down with you at Armageddon™ and will be Resurrected™ in Paradise™."

    When I told Mr Scully about this, I asked him how this measured up against Jesus' words in John 13:34,35. This was not a show of love at all. None of the nasty, mean things that the Congregation™ had done to us was a demonstration of love. And he had to admit that it had been the same in every Congregation™ we'd ever attended. He'd spent years Reaching Out™ for Privileges™, being passed over time and time again for no clear reason, and when I shared with him what I'd learned about mind control and behaviour control through the Social Psychology course, it all kind of clicked for him, and he was ready to explore.

    We called the 1-800-WHY-1914 line and spoke with dear Marilyn (RIP) and about a week later we received booklets from her about the WTS.

    I started making plans to attend college. We started planning our fade. Holidays were observed but on the down-low. We got accused by someone in the Congregation™ of celebrating Hallowe'en when I hung some Indian corn on the front door and put a bale of hay and gourds on the front porch. I asked them what natural, seasonal decorations had to do with Hallowe'en. When Christmas came around, I put up pictures of snowmen and hung some evergreen branches on the front door. We caught $h!t for that too, but again, snowmen and branches on the door are not Christmas decorations, so they had to back off.

    Finally we moved out of the Territory™ to accommodate my return to college. We were in a different Circuit™ and never made an appearance at the 'new' Congregation™, so nobody knew us, our Publisher Cards™ were never transferred, and none of the people in our old KH expected to see us at Circuit Assemblies™.

    It takes a lot of patience to overcome the programming, but it's do-able. We're all here to help you along the way. Your husband may never relinquish his loyalty to the JWs. I think it's unfair of him to say to you that he "never signed up to be married to an apostate", when he was totally Inactive™ when you got married. Clearly, you didn't sign up to be dragged into a cult either; and you have every right to put the brakes on if you want no part of his religious delusion.

    Hang in there.

  • R. Jerome Harris
    R. Jerome Harris
    Those who leave the organization should not view themselves as ...
    1. Spiritually sick or weak persons.
    2. Persons who have ruined their lives.
    3. Persons God and Christ have abandoned.
    4. Persons the WT defines as Apostates (God is your judge not the WT). Who gives the WT the right or authority to label any of us? It is not our judge. Reject such labellings and the WT did not create you. It is not your God. These labels are designed to psychologically get into your head and place a "guilt-trip" on you. Also to make you fearful and to control you. Reject them! Neither has God or Christ has called you those things.

    I had an experience similar to yours in the case of a wife I told that I was disassociating myself from the WT organization after 30 years. The love she "supposedly" had for me turned into anger and then hatred (based on some the ugly and hurtful things she would say to me).
    How can those within an organization that claims that it has the truth, so easily turn off love so quickly as if it was a light switch? It was never love in the first place, was it? I was so-called loved as long as I went along with the program like everyone else. The WT does little to build up persons from the inside. It is concerned about the "outside" of a person. That is why many of the handshakes and smiles do not come across as real and sincere. They are painted on.
    My wife of ten years, who refuses to work as she feels I make good money - stopped cooking and washing for me. I would come home after a 14 hour day and no meal is prepared. The house is filthy and she is not home. I end up cleaning and feeding myself. She is with her JW friends and spending my hard-earned earnings on herself and them as I see excessive withdrawals from the bank debit card at restaurants. Enough money is taken out to feed four or five people.
    When I am home, she does not speak to me; and when I try to rest up for the next work day, she purposefully blasts the TV and slams doors.
    She tries to pick fights and I refuse to engage. I believe she wanted me to physically do something to her so that she can have an excuse with the Elders and police had I done something to her. I simply acted more Christ like than she did.
    Since I was no longer one of JWs and not subjected to their rules and regulations, I filed for a divorce. She was shocked believing I would never do such a thing and this made her even more angry. I packed up my stuff and left. (We had no children)
    Yes, we are told that God hates a divorcing but he is not saying you cannot get one.
    Jesus said at Matthew 19:8-9:
    "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
    Apparently, this was a problem back then with regards the male. There is no mention of wives divorcing their husbands.
    Yet, I accept what Jesus says here. If I divorce my wife for grounds other than fornication, I commit adultery. Fine. OK, now I become an adulterer. I can live with that and my conscience is clear and here is why:
    I know that Christ will not condemn me as he has never shunned or condemned anyone. He forgave an adulterous woman at John Chapter 8. He forgave his persecutors and executioners. He promised a condemned man, paradise. Will I be loved any less? And, I know that both God and Christ understand my situation far better than humans who have limited insight and understanding.
    I am happier than I have ever been. I am free to worship my God and serve my Lord without the controlling arms of a religious organization telling me how I must do it. I am free to read what I want to read and free to speak to those the WT shuns and express love and concern for them.
    I admit, leaving the WT organization made me afraid. But I later learned that this was because its indoctrination influence over me over the many years of being a JW. Like a child dependent upon a parent, I had grown dependent upon the WTBTS for everything. It had me!
    Now, my trust and dependency is in God and Christ. No religious organization is in the picture. As where there are men attempting to lead men, there is disaster and failure. Only Christ can lead us to everlasting life. (Matthew 7:12-14)
    My trust and confidence is in him, no longer the WTBTS or any religious organization.
    My dear sister, be of good cheer. God and Christ have not abandoned you, your husband and a religious organization did. That being the case, draw even closer to that which has not abandoned you.
    In the end, those who abandoned you, will be ashamed because they did not show you the love God and Christ shows us all, no matter who you are.
    They will one day realize that they are the REAL adulterers because they divorced themselves from the true teachings of Christ. If your husband and the WTBTS truly knew Christ and his teachings, they would have never treated you in the manner that they did. There would have been love and understanding.
    What you were told was that since you no longer wish to be a JW, you will be shown no love, understanding and compassion. This is not from Christ.
  • Diogenesister

    Hi , and welcome. Lots of great advice here, I particularly like

    kirous wish I had the patience to take a slower approach.
    My JW wife constantly reminds me that there is no emergency.
    There isn't.

    I wouldn't bother with the whole birthday xmas thing just now, they don't matter (especially if you have no kids). Let him get used to the idea (and that you are not going to sprout two heads) I know it's been a while but it sound's like he's going through a process of grieving right now ( I hope you have been through the angry stage!! Eg the old 'expert elder' bit LOL!!!)I guess emember how long it took you to adjust . I don't see, however, why you shouldn't show him some of the reasons you found the org so dubious and there are some great examples on this thread of things taken from only the bible and the wtbts own literature. The live broadcast from the RC of GB member Jackson may be an excellent 'entree'!!

    I wish you all the best, I don't see why you're marriage should become a victim of the wbts imho! But only you know the extent to which it's been poisoned by the cult.

    PS you didn't mention parents/in laws but whether you choose to fade of d/a I expect will be governed by that. Personally I would try to avoid loosing family but in the end I guess you must do what's right for you. I am glad you have your cousin and I am sorry the elder's gave him such a hard time, so much for consistency. I guess he wasn't married to a ms!

  • atacrossroads

    Hi everyone. Thank you for all your kind responses and it really gave me a lot to think about. I don't think its a good idea to discuss the reasons I left the witnesses with my husband at this point. He is so guarded right now that any negative thing mentioned will make it worse. Regarding the holidays I was really looking forward to celebrating them. I was planning to be discreet and not bring it into the house. I was actually going to help my cousin decorate his house. lol I must confess I have already started shopping for Christmas presents. Even as a witness I loved Christmas lights. I did not enjoy going in field service on holidays.

    I asked my husband if he wanted to take a vactation in December when I am done with the fall semester and I can take some vacation time off work. When we took trips in the past we always attended the kingdom hall and even went in field service. Looking back I think what a complete waste of vacation time. I told him if we wanted to get a good deal we should book soon. He said he knew this vacation would be different from our other trips since I am "on a break" from witness activities. He asked me if I wanted to go to Russia. That comment kind of stung that he thinks I am so anti witness. I just don't want to be one anymore. He told me to give him the dates and he would get the time off from work and I could pick the vacation spot. That's a good sign I guess that he will still take vacations with his apostate wife. I am going to take the advice of doing fun things like recreation. I am not into his hobbies at all but I guess I can start there. Again thanks for all your responses everyone!

  • paradisebeauty

    It is good that they live you alone now.

    When you spend holidays, if they say something give them that verse that says you should not judge others for considering a day above others, say christmas is for you a period when people are kind to one another, a celebration of humanity in people, and new year is a new beginning. it is not religious nowadays.

    Memorize some verses like the one who says no one should be a master over another person's faith.

    Be very concise when you speak with elders or your husband about this matters, give them a verse and shut them up about judging you.

  • FayeDunaway
    You should help your cousin decorate his house, it would be lots of fun for you. Just keep it on the down low with your husband. Christmas lights are awesome. I am religious, and christmas is definitely religious for me, but it's also a celebration of light during the darkest days of the year. The pagans had a great idea, and Jesus is the light of the world, so it all ties together. :)

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