Undue worry about how others view us could keep a person enslaved.
All we can be is true to our conscience and be the best person we can be. I
take it as a given that JWs, all my family and former friends, will think toward me
the whole spectrum from ‘spiritual weak’ to ‘apostate’. It sometimes hurts, but
I cannot dwell on that. I know that they are enslaved by indoctrination and if
they really knew me and didn’t have the blinders on, they would have a
I can’t help but think of one of the Beatitudes, “Happy
are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and
false things about you.”
As a JW, everything is gauged by appearances and how we are
perceived by the JW community. It didn’t matter about your heart, not really,
it mattered what kind of figure you put on a time slip, being seen at all the
meetings, being seen obeying all the rules, written and unwritten (such as not
having a beard).
Sometimes it might be useful to step out of the situation and
play “What If?” What if it weren’t the JWs, but another group that we were
apart of? For instance, do I care how Westboro Baptists view me? Would I care how the Moonies, Mormons, Amish, Hasidics, Scientologists, Branch Davidians,
People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate viewed me if I left that group? It’s allot
easier imagining this, because we have no emotional attachment to those groups,
and even JWs realize those groups are nuts (even though they can’t see themselves
reflecting in those groups).
Likely from this objective What If, we realize that we would
advise a former member of X group not to worry about how the people within that
group viewed them, and that worry about how that group viewed the former member could be
an impediment to their life and recovery. The last step is then to imagine we
were never JWs, and objectively advise ourselves accordingly.