After a transatlantic discussion with my wife we have both reached the conclusion that we will not be posting to this Board again. Though we see the Board as serving a useful purpose for some, it does not at present suit the path that we have chosen to walk to extract ourselves from the WTS.
This Board is in an invaluable place for those of you who have recently left the WTS and need a place to stretch your wings and share you hurt and pain. But once we learn to fly, it seems important that we should leave the nest as quickly as possible, lest we become caught in a vacuum between the WTS and real life. Virtual friendships are virtually friendships but not quite. At our age in life,time has to be used carefully and for us we are planning another route out. I hope that this new Board is used wisely and not developed into some online jungle where the emotionally weak or those with different viewpoints or the less literate are seen as a target and the strong strut around in metaphoric jack-boots looking for victims to savage with their literary sabers. I know that the following quotes are taken out of context and are on the extreme side but they have been posted recently by two separate persons.
......oink, oink, Lone Piggy. You must feel terribly threatened to be squealing so long and hard! LOL!!! No self-respecting woman would let you near enough to pollute her with your pigbreath
.......AFter all ya keep your cheap shallow pride dont ya?
Coming from a peson who bathes in flea and tick soap,your labels are meaningless,just as your 'insights' are.
How do you think that the average JW who is in conflict and drifts to this sight looking for solace will react to such verbiage? Can we not see that perhaps we may drive them right back to the seeming comfort and security of the very arms of those who have enslaved them. Whether we hold to Christian belief or not, this is a heavy responsibility to bear. Is that really what we are trying to achieve?
Both my wife and I were not raised in the Truth and when I have shown impatience at the attitude that some of you display, it has been my wife who has wisely put me right, saying, ‘Step, these people feel that they have had their childhood and youth stolen from them, give them time’ and she, as normal, is quite right but I cannot see any value in ‘returning evil for evil’ even if a person expresses a viewpoint that may outrage us. I have tried to handle the criticisms and suspicious accusations leveled at my own posts in a spirit of friendship and peace but have once or twice been tempted out of this position and this has not dignified my life and I regret it. Tolerance seems to be an impossible country to live in for some and yet it is the WTS intolerance that bought most of us to this digital piece of earth. Why use similar tactics that have bought pain to you, to inflict pain on others?
To illustrate. A person posted a message stating that she had been driven to prostitution to feed her children and then the feeding frenzy began. Message after message, is she real, is she fake, she is fake, she is real, she may be real with fakish overtones, get a life, get a job, definitely a fake with a real computer, Lol, moll, troll, atoll and on and on. How many man hours better spent caring for others were spent on this issue. Where is it going? What matters that she may be a fraud. If you believe that, turn the page and live on. If not offer some help.
Beorea mentioned that the average JW in Europe does not have same the idolatrous attachment to the WTS that the average North American seems to and in my opinion he is quite right. From my own experiences I have been very unimpressed by the sanitized and slick meetings that I have attended in the US over the years. Here in Europe I know at least a dozen Elders that I have shared my doctrinal misgivings with over the years and who see flaws but like Raymond Franz during his period of struggle still feel that in time ‘God’ will put all things right. I personally do not believe this will ever happen or can happen without major legal problems for the WTS and they certainly cannot afford to change, caught as they are between the rock and the hard place. The WTS is rather more tolerated than respected in my neck of the woods and administrative consultation via publications is just a matter of form, often ignored. Perhaps this gives the average JW in Europe a different perspective, perhaps a little less reactive but whatever the case, we must learn that are all in this together and all at different stages. Remember the average JW who shuns you, abhors you for your ‘apostasy’, maligns you to make themselves feel safer, tears your soul apart in a Judicial Committee may well have been yourself a few weeks, months or years ago. Let us try to recall our own failures in this rgard, then we can understand better another persons situation.
I was described by one poster as ‘probably mostly good with a propensity to try and be a spiritual leader which is bad’ or words to that effect. I can assure you that I have no such ambitions, I am always the last to go first and even within the WTS I have led a very private life because I am a private person. This is however an interesting comment and brings me to another point as I have spent the past 35 years in studios attempting to keep control of unruly musicians and it is here that the leader was forcibly honed not in the WTS! More importantly it was here that I have seen the healing that can be achieved by time and fruitful friendships. Here, I have watched foul mouthed, egocentric, half-educated young men and women slowly over the years develop into decent hardworking and importantly, talented people and this has taught me that the passage of time has a natural sobering element attached to it for all of us, whatever walk of life that we choose. A close and good friend ( not a JW - another European eccentricity - friends outside WTS ) was heavily drug dependent when we first met in the early 70’s. I watched in grief as his life fell apart but was there for him whenever he needed my help. Gradually time unmasked his inner demons and he grappled with them and won and in my estimation developed into one of the most important lyricists of the C20th, his talent if anything, enhanced by the trail that he had left behind him. No Bible, no lectures, just time and true friends. Of course this does not work for everybody. I will possibly lose my anonymity in relating these experiences, at least to those that know me, but there is a risk attached to every breath we take. We must learn to work with the ‘hand’ that life has dealt us and try to make something special and better of our lives. Learn from the older ones who have stepped towards these peaks before yourself, why denigrate them even if you feel them to be mistaken?
That having been said, I have immensely enjoyed the challenging intellectual and theological views expressed by some posters. AF has stimulated thought and has generally done so in a non-offensive way, JanH, though looking quite young from his icon photograph seems to have a wisdom beyond his years and again minimizes insults. Lonewolf and Flowerpetal seem to be warmhearted people whom one can trust.
I hope that I can correspond privately with one or two of you and have made my ‘hotmail’ e mail address available for 24 hours. I appreciate that this might open my mail box to some ugly postings but for this I am prepared.
BEROEA - yes, I know Chamonix, Grenoble, Aix-Les-Baines ( or Aches And Pains as I used to call it on my descents ) well from my routes in the early 70’s. I passed through the Mt. Blanc tunnel on my way to Rome the second day it was opened, in the late 60’s I think. I was in a Plymouth Barracuda and as wild as a windstorm. I have never forgotten those wonderful days. We have spent many an hour under electric blue skies in the peaks marveling at the alpine flowers and the gift of spirit. I have always felt closer to God away from people and in the countryside. Keep in touch and God bless you and your family in your challenging situation.
I also wish all of you the best in your journey through life.
STEP from the US