what brought you out?
Like others, there were several aspects, which all accumulated to tip the balance.
Scientific innaccuracies (if even I can see them, they must be basic!)
Historical contradictions and insistence on obviously disproved dates.
Oh how convenient new light. A really important thing for me was how they changed the generation thing in 1995. 81 years after 1914. But worldly scholars and christendom had known this stuff for years. "God's channel" didn't find out till 1995? Scummy bilge!
Historical revisionism. I was young in '75, but I do remember it. The revisionist history promulgated by the WT today is pure dishonesty.
In the end, there were simply too many hoops to keep jumping through to justify this stuff. And then it becomes clear that the emperor has no clothes (not you Waiting).
My experience is similer to AlanF.
I began to realise that the Society weren't being entirely fair with their disemination of information - they were using quotes out of context, mis-representing intent, playing silly buggers with statistics, being unscientific, using subliminal mind-control techniques etc.
However, the most powerful proof to me that they haven't got the truth is their insistance that we are living in the time of the end. Even a few hours spent researching the topic as an individual will show beyond any shadow of a doubt that the 20th century was, in fact, BETTER than most others with regard to some of the 'signs' esp disease and famine. Trouble is, JWs are not allowed to do their own research.
For me it started with basic things such as:
Not agreeing with them that a loving God would be willing to destroy millions just for not being a JW.
Not agreeing that the self appointed Governing body were Jesus's mouth piece
And just having seen and heard various things in my 30 or so years as a JW ...you know...... those things that make you go HMMMMMMM.
Then reading COC clinched it for me.
so many things, but i guess a big one was being led by men who said they got their info. from god, but, if you ever called them on it, denied being inspired. i'll take my fate in my own hands, thank you very much.-nate
My case was much like that of Joelbear (Joel is my real first name, BTW). I was raised a JW, and Bethel was the real eye-opener. I researched 607, the resurrection after Armageddon, blood, and those damn Baptism questions - all in the libraries at Bethel. At the time, I was trying to dispel the nagging doubts I'd had all my life - but I couldn't reconcile all the information I found with what the bOrg taught us. Add to this the Bizarro World that is Bethel life - and I was convinced that there was NO WAY God is "directing" those old farts in Brooklyn. It took a while, but I finally left in 1993.
As for me, it was many small issues such as being molded into somebody I was not!!
Before studying with the JW's in my Junior year of High School, I wanted a career in law enforcement since age 15. After my baptism during my Senior year, it was still on my mind and was told that it would be a personal choice because I would be carrying a weapon that may take another life.
After High School, as my former friends (non JW's), that I used to play school sports with, joined the military or went to college, I became a security guard until I would turn 21. Well I went to meetings and field service on week ends. As time went on I was being encouraged into aux. pioneering. I did not enjoy field service much and soon started to rebell. I also started to question certain beliefs such as neutrality and personal defense. The bible gives many examples of defending your homes and territory. How was this country founded or even defended?
Well the day came when I turned 21 and started my quest in a law enforcement career. The elders went nuts!! Oh by the way, I was sharing an apartment with a full time pioneer who was my best friend before JW and had joined the same time as myself. Well I sent resume's to different police departments. As the applications came to our apartment, he would run and squeel to the elders. I was met with more and more oposition.
I soon moved out and got a place of my own and also stopped attending
meetings. I was being harassed more than ever. I realized the mind control that the elders had. My eyes were opening more and more towards there tricks. I started questioning more and more issues and wanted out in the worst way.
Well it was by chance that my security job was at the local hospital. I worked the night shift and was paged to the emergency room one particulat night. Upon arrival I passed an elderly woman crying in the waiting room. I went to the desk and was told that the elderly woman's husband was dying and he needed a transfusion. It was myself and 2 nurses in the whole hospital had his blood type. I instantly said no and walked off. After a minute I thought about it, since the blood issue was one of the things that I questioned. I returned and donated a pint of my "soul". As I started to leave the emergency room, I was called back by the elderly woman. Her sons helped her to her feet and she walked up to me with tears rolling down her face. She brought her hand up to my face and thanked me.
The rest is history.....The next day I wrote a letter to the elders and told what had happened. I was out in a flash.
I never did enter law enforcement. I later went to college the following year.
One point of interest which I will save for a later story is the fact that most of the elders whom DFed me are either now DFed, resigned or stopped attending all together.
i think mine was unique tho i dont know why it should be only me that seems to have approached it this way
the 607 and 455 problems i figured out on my own with no help from outside sources other than neutral reference works and the publications. however i let that go, figuring that it wasnt really that important. it bugged me a lot to have to keep hearing these wrong dates over and over with almost no acknowledgement of the contradiction with historians' dates (ie the new daniel book, amazingly, refers to the neo-babylonian chronology that gives us 607 several times in each chapter, without _once_ providing an explanation as to how they get that chronolgy) but i could live with it for a while
when i really decided to sit down and take stock of things tho, i decided to pick something that should be the easiest, most tangible thing to prove as possible or not. i decided this was the flood. the flood should be either definitely possible or definitely not. i spent hours every day researching, among other branches of science, dendrochronolgy (tree-rings), egyptology, radiocarbon dating, anthropology, and genetics. once i had it all laid out i could see clearly that there was no salvaging the flood and a literal genesis. that pretty much knocked the feet out from under the whole belief system and everything else fell into place (or out of place, depending on your point of view)
i realize that this may seem like a rather cold way of coming to grips with matters of faith and i suppose that if the day comes when i am forced to try and explain this to my friends or family, i will seem to them to be fixated with technicalities and trivialities and ignoring the larger picture. i do not wish for this day to come soon.
There were lots of little things for me but the 1995 change in the Generation teaching tipped the scales and all my doubts came together.
When I investigated my religion I had problems with 607 BC and thus 1914. Once that is questioned the whole authority of the WTS as the faithful slave is questionable. I had long had problems with the blood tenet and reading more in 1996 convinced me the WTS was wrong on that also. I had long believed that life on Earth was a result of evolution, perhaps God directed. When I read criticism of the "Creation" book I knew then that resorting to dishonesty was not an indentifier of the true religion. All these made me quit the JW's altogether.
Going back a little further, in January 1995 I stepped down as an elder. I had in three years seen the manipulation, in-fighting and lack of love. When I saw the covering up of wrong doing I decided I couldn't belong to that elder body. I was not alone in stepping down, another elder came to the same decision. He wrote his resignation letter a few days after me. I left the area (and country) five months later. I thought a new start would help me. It didn't. I looked at things from a different perspective, I was now critical of both the WTS teachings and elders in the congregation. By the time the Watchtower on the generation change came out I had had about enough. I was inactive by then but continued to attend meetings. My last meeting was Memorial night 1997.
'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing'
My relationship with God had always been rocky. When I was in college, I would lie awake at nights worried that He didn’t approve of what or whom I had done that day. Then, the Ambien would kick in. When I woke up the next morning I would be haunted by a sense of vague reproach. If only I hadn’t suffered from ADD, I would have thought about it long enough to realize that my morning anxiety was connected to my nighttime ruminations about God. Instead, I walked around all
morning thinking I had forgotten a really great idea for doing something new with my hair. That really bothered me because everyone wants to live up to their full potential.
After taking Beginning Psychology, I realized that my relationship with God was weirdly co-dependant. He pandered to my self-esteem issues with His "I love you no matter how bad you are" stuff, while I enabled His wild bipolar mood swings by turning a blind eye to the floods in Nicaragua and the Holocaust. Anyway, we drifted. It’s not like I rejected Him. I just felt like He wanted space. You know, totally needy constant praying had to stop – and it did after many a tearful confrontation too embarrassing to recount here. That’s
when the crazy sex started. It was constant. First, I did it by teams. Then, by fraternities. Finally, I had to start going off campus just to see fresh faces.
One night I was with this guy who worked in a local restaurant called Juan. Juan climbed out of my futon in the morning started crying, "I feel so unclean. What we did was not good before God. I must shower and go to confession."
"Confession?" I sat up and asked. "I didn’t know you were Catholic (We’re not supposed to associate with Catholics, you know). What are you worried about what we did? You’re all going to Gehenna anyway." As a Jehovah’s Witness, I knew that we were the only ones with any real shot at eternal life.
Juan ran out of my studio apartment, but then did something that guys never did. He actually called me. He said he had gone to his priest and that the priest had told Juan he had sinned but that he was forgiven. Apparently, Juan had to say some necklace prayer a million times or something. That seemed sort of annoying, but I guess sort of worth it for, like, eternal salvation or something. Anyway, just as I was girding myself for the "I can’t see you again" line, Juan told me
very solemnly, "If were are going to continue seeing each other, I will have to go to confession several times a week. Do you have a pocket-planner?"
Just as I was getting jealous of him stumbling upon this way of sinning and totally getting away with it, I remembered that he was Catholic and going to Gehenna anyway. But what about me? As a Jehovah’s Witness, I was not automatically going straight to Gehenna. Maybe I could work it so I could be routinely forgiven, too. That is what led me to elder Diller. He made me feel totally at ease. While he did have that self-satisfied patience of all elders, he didn’t do any unctuous hand-wringing what I find really annoying. I was very level with him. Told him I didn’t want to go to Gehenna. That was sort of non-negotiable. But then I told him about how much unmarried sex I was having. I sort of fudged on the numbers by dropping a zero off the end. I was glad I did because he looked sort of shocked anyway.
Elder Diller told me that I was sinning big-time. "Duh." I told him, "I knew that, but I was really looking for, like, some sort of magic-wand confession thing."
"We’re not Catholics," he reproved. He said "Catholics" like he’s just eaten a spoonful of spoiled canned tuna. "Yeah, I know, but didn’t we keep any of that cool forgiveness stuff?" "Yes, but you have to mean it. And you can’t just go out and do the sin again," he chided. Well, that shot that down. I floated the idea of just carnally sinning until I got tired of it and knew I didn’t want to do it any more and THEN getting forgiven. He said that wouldn’t work, but, to be honest, I didn’t see the logic in his argument.
"Until you are married, you must stop having sex with men," he said firmly as he glanced furtively at my knees. I immediately wished I’d worn a longer skirt. But the way he looked back at my legs made me realize the Elder Diller hadn’t really minded my fashion decision. Answering my quizzical look, he added, "There is no way around this."
"Well, I suppose I could always have sex with women!" I joked.
"Yes," he said evenly, running his hand languidly down his chest towards his lap, "there is always that."
"But the Bible forbids homosexuality Brother!" I blurted out, somewhat taken aback by his suggestion. "Yes, it does," he calmly responded. "But only between men. I invite you to search the Bible for where God said one single word about lesbianism. You see, the Lord
doesn’t mind two healthy, nubile little lambs frolicking about." Elder Diller’s hands had dropped below his desk. He must have had a notepad in his lap because his hands appeared to be busy from what little I could see from my side of his desk. He was just like me; he
wrote with his left hand. "So God thinks two guys together is an abomination, but thinks two chicks together is cool?" I asked.
"Apparently," he responded, eyebrows raised somewhat conspiratorially.
"Well, so much for those feminists who think God is a woman. I mean, HELLO? Obviously, we are talkin Typical Male here!" "Yes, Jehovah created the lovely lithe form of libidinous woman, with moist inviting thighs and soft heaving bosoms for the delight of her lucky husband. But until that time, there is nothing to say that a lovely lonely
nymph can’t play with her buxom little friends." By now, Diller was writing very quickly. Must have been shorthand.
I had to admit that the idea of sex with no spiritual repercussions was appealing to me, and was precisely what I had been seeking when I came to Elder Diller. But sex with a woman was foreign to me and no something I thought I would enjoy. When I told this to Diller, a brief look of disappointment crossed his craggy face. I knew that I had let him down by not showing my willingness to please Jehovah. "I guess I could try," I offered cheerfully, "Debbie, who lives in my building, has hinted around that she wants me. But I still don’t know what I’d do."
"It is probably best that someone who has your spiritual well being in mind, as well as a first hand knowledge of Biblical ins-and-outs, be there to assist. To make sure that giddy, but chaste, lesbian abandon doesn’t spill over into another, technically forbidden, type of carnal sin," Diller said, aglow with caring enthusiasm. He walked around his desk, keeping his crotch modestly covered with his hat.
He placed his creased hand on me in a way that reminded me of how my dear father had touched me when I was a little girl. Before child services found out. That very day, I told Juan that I could never have sex with him. In fact, I stopped having sex with all men.
And since that time when Elder Diller led me to Jehovah, I have never sexually sinned before God. We came close one night, when Diller had arranged to have me and five women from his Guatemalan Congregation
to romp around naked on his bed, but he disengaged before any sin occurred. I guess the lesson that I have learned in coming with God is that when the Lord closes a door (men), He opens more than a window (women). I am so grateful to the devotion to the Lord’s will showed by Elder Diller.
I keep asking him what I can buy for him to thank him for leading me out of a life of sin. He always has his video camera running, so I asked if I could buy him some film. But he is so selfless, he always just says, "Dear, you have already done more than enough."