Hello all. I am a new face to this website, although I have poked around in it for some time. I was born and raised as a Witness starting in Brooklyn, New York in 1973. I was disfellowshipped on my 26th birthday, November 20th, 1999. I am not one of those that feels bitter about it. I know full well that the JW's have a code of morals and behavior that quite honestsly, I did not live up to. So it is only reasonable to say that I deserved to be df'd. However, I am not going back. This time away has been an opportunity to examine why in the world I was a JW even though I knew I didn't want to be. I was baptized when I was 18, thinking that any doubts were just in my head, and that this was just what I needed. Now that I can look from the outside in, I am able to see things for what they are. I am also able to learn how to think and choose for myself, something I was taught to be afraid of. I have been out of the WTS for a litte over a year now and guess I am ready to join these discussions.
I will start by saying that I am not here to bash Witnesses. I strongly believe that the organization provides, for some, for a certain type of spiritual need. This would go for just about any organized group or system of beliefs. Could it possibly be that one of the reasons there is such a prevelance of organized religion is that this is God's way of saying, "Hmmm. Well you don't understand me if you think of me like this, well, maybe try to think of it like THIS instead?" I think it was a Fransiscan monk who said that if we could understand God, then he wouldn't be God. So he appears in different forms.
People have different reasons for going to a church or practicing a religion. Some people don't feel they have the intellect or the confidence to approach God without some mediator. Some like the beauty of ceremony that a church can provide. Some like the feeling of community. Others need to be told how to think and what to believe. And all this and more is in part, what organized religion provides. A routine. A method. An explanation. There is great security and sense of comfort gained in having answers. So when I think of the Witnesses and what the WTS, I say, if it helps you draw closer to God, if it helps to make you a better person, if it provides steps to make your life better, then mission accomplished.
I know Witnesses claim to have the truth. Fact is, so do many other religions. We all would like to think that we have some "right on the money" understanding of Scripture and prophecy. I am sure that if I performed my own scriptural acrobatics, I could come to some sort of conclusion as to how my life fulfills certain prophecy and that here is what it all means. I have decided instead that any conclusions I come to - or anbody else for that matter - are wrong. We HAVE to recognize our own fallibilty. If we are to suggest sole spokesmanship for God, we better have it right.
There are the endless debates that can be had held regarding doctrine. I am not here to argue dates, question the liability to be had by the Society for their ignorant approach to medicine, hash up old history of 'so and so did this', or any of the other common approaches to arguing the Witnesses. It's been done so much, most of what one hears and finds is simply redundant. Besides most of the mistakes that can be found within the Watchtower organization, are ones that can be found in any other group. So I don't think that misconstruction of doctrine, or personal matters where on is wronged, in itself, significant as they may well be, are the markings of a group I want to stay away from.
For me it is not so much WHAT the Witnesses think, as is HOW the Witnesses think. When you approach the organization epistemologically, it forces one to look at how they come up with what they do, and what it produces. I see paranoia. I see self-righteousness. I see a strange hybrid of love and hate that encourages an unhealthy sense of exclusiveness and contradicts natural law. I see the power of God in the hands of men. I see hypocrisy. I am sickened by the type of thinking epitomized by one elder that would repeatedly refer to the Witnesses both in prayer and talks, as "the greatest people in the world." The fact that no one would challenge him on this point speaks for itself. Sure, Witnesses might make great neighbors, but that does not make them the all-encompassing solution to every problem on earth.
So do I feel I have transcended some way of thinking or that now I have some bit of spiritual truth gone unseen by ALL these JWs? Not at all. Such thinking is arrogant, proud, and spiritually dangerous. It is one thing to say that such and such is what I believe, knowing that this is probably going to evolve. It is something else to have someone dictate this for you, mandating that you goosestep right along with the rest of those of whom you assume to be of like mind. The critical finger that is pointed by the WTS towards all other groups (valid as it may be) is one that can be pointed right back. They shouldn't be surprised, and I don't think they are, when it is.
So where am I going now that I am "out?" Well, not to sound cliche, but this is a journey. I am not turning my back on God. Just an organization that puts itself in that position.
Greetings to all