What to do...
Not from what I've heard...witness chicks are worse than worldly ones. I guess it all comes from the fact that as soon as youngsters become of a certain age they are pounded with sex advice from all sides - the JWs, especially the older ones, are absolutely obsessed with sex.
Anyway Fence, I suggest you come here and ask your questions. I know how hard it is not to be able to talk with anybody. It is very therapeutic to air your concerns. At least here you'll get an honest discussion with a range of views and not just the WT dogma. If you want to keep connections with your family don't force their hand by being openly anti-JW - they will HAVE to follow their programming and shun you. If they are still under the hypnotic power of the Society then they have no choice. JWs have no freedom to make any of their own decisions above what flavour juice they buy.
It must place you in a very uncomfortable position. However where you proceed from
here is really a choice you should make based upon information and understanding. I
agree with Tina, that you should build yourself a new knowledge and decide for
yourself which way you would like to go.
I think all on this site would agree that a rash decision is not the right course. You must
follow your own mind, heart and conscience.
I suggest not only checking out the anti-JW sites and perhaps reading Crisis of
Conscience, but also other information which has points of view that you would not
For example, evolution sites, born again organisations, Zen buddism etc. Although you
may agree with none of them, it will give your mind other angles of attack.
If you decide to leave, then if your family shunning you is too much for you then I agree
with Larc that an easy option is to slip out gradually.
Just my two bob
Onthefence: I’ve sat there myself. My question was quite simple. It was simply: Is ‘The Truth’ the truth? For it to be ‘The Truth’ it must absolutely be the truth. (Please note the capitalization and quotes) If I could establish that it was indeed the truth, then I would have no problem with doing what it said that I must. If, however, it was not the truth, then it was nothing.
Some related questions:
Is ‘The Truth’ a forum provided within which one is able to grow in spirituality as the holy spirit (which each person is given in his own measure) directs and guides him? Is obedience of the ‘brotherhood’ motivated by a love for one’s fellow man and for Christ rather than being dogmatic with strict compliance being enforced by peer pressure and threat of disfellowshipping and the subsequent shunning that follows? Can you see Jesus as an elder in your congregation? Do you think your elders would recommend his appointment on the body? Could Jesus work with them?
If your answers to these questions is yes, then stay where you are. You have truly found the truth.
Do not think I came to put peace upon the earth; I came to put, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a young wife against her mother-in-law. Indeed, a man’s enemies will be persons of his own household. He that has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and he that has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me. He that finds his soul will lose it, and he that loses his soul for my sake will find it Matt 10: 34-39 NWT—Some words to ponder.
-Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it-
Fencesitter, have some Preparation H handy...you may be up there for awhile :) It was my experience that I felt the pangs of "something is WRONG here" for several years before actually leaving, and when I did leave it was with an emotional outburst and a disassociation letter and a total cleaving of my relationships with all the JWs I knew. At the time I thought it was what I needed to do, to SEVER my name from theirs. I dont think I would have been that drastic had I the opportunity to do it all over again. I think walking would have been a better way to go. Then, people could choose pretty much if they wanted to continue their relationship with me or not...but my disassociating myself removed that possibility from both them and me you know?
On the other hand, I could NOT continue to pretend before God, that I was someone I was not...which I saw as a bald faced lie before God. He knew I was being a hypocrite, going to those meetings, smiling, answering PRETENDING, LYING...and frankly, if I wasnt there to please God then who was I trying to please? VOILA...the PEOPLE. And is that what God wants of us? To follow and cajole and please PEOPLE?
It got to the point where I would be physically sick starting every meeting day afternoon just in anticipation of having to go there again...to put on aires and be holy, and to be like PETER was when he was being two-faced with the Gentiles and the Jews. I was bad mouthing WORLDLY people, and wishing I was free like them, then bolstering and praising the Society, when I hated their control of the sheep...sitting there in Brooklyn with their empty eyes, and cold souls, controlling us like puppets, laughing at our helplessness, dangling our families before us if we didnt do obeisance.
I couldnt live with myself after years of this. I read Crisis of Conscience and it was THE EYE OPENER for me. It freed my soul. My husband is a JW, and my inlaws many were, and all my friends were JWs...but ultimately, it was between me and God. Yes I lost many, but the freedom from oppression was worth it.
If you have a girlfriend who is in the Org in ANY WAY, do NOT discuss how you feel with her! She WILL at some point narc on you. Married COUPLES are required by the Org to narc on each other...do NOT TRUST HER. If you ultimately leave quietly, and she follows you out, that is one thing. But if you leave and she continues in, your relationship with her will only bring pain and heartache. Be prepared to lose it all by leaving...or lose who you are kiddo by staying.
Perhaps it is of little comfort, but we will be here for you...MILLIONS NOW LIVING have escaped the Tower.
Take the chick and run!
Truer words were never spoken, Apostle!
Welcome to the board, Fence...I feel for you. I know what its like to fear losing your family. I've
gone through it, and I have to tell you that while it's horrible, that for many, myself included,
there is no other choice. You can't stay in just to keep them. You'll be miserable and end up
self destructing eventually.
If you can drift away slowly, by all means, do so. There's no telling what your family will do in either
case. I'm going to quote now from one of my favorite books: Life Strategies by Phil McGraw:
Everyone, please forgive the length of this post. I think that Mr. Fence can really benefit from the
quotes I'm about to recite. I know I have.
Assignment#2: It's time for you to do a little homework, in part to see if
you're willing to recognize your self defeating excuses and rationales. I want you to sit down and
write a story. The story is entitled:"The Story I'll Tell Myself if I Don't Create Meaningful and
Lasting Change After Reading and Studying This Book."
I want you to be honest. You know your patterns, you know your typical excuses, rationalizations,
and justifications for failure. Just look ahead, see which excuses you are most likely going to rely on
and write them down in a story. I suggest that you begin it by writing: "After reading and studying
this book, I did not create meaningful and lasting change because..."
As you go through this exercise, I want you to be creative, thorough, and brutally honest about
the things you will say to justify your failure. You know you con yourself and let yourself off
the hook when the going gets tough. This is a test to see how willing you are to recognize that con
job that sabotages yourself. It is a test to see if you can tell it like it is, or if you want to just live
with the same old, tired excuses and be right instead of happy.
Now that you have finished writing, lets reflect on what you've done. You have just argued your
limitations. You have just created a record of the thoughts and beliefs that you use to sabotage
yourself in every endeavor you undertake. There, on paper, are the same thoughts and beliefs you will use to prevent this
book from changing your life for the better. The more candid it is, the more self-critical it is, the
more valuable it is. Are any of the following excuses familiar, did some of them get on your list?
-- It was just too hard.
He doesn't really understand me.
That's all for other people.
I couldn't focus because of the kids and my job.
He's just too harsh, I need a gentle approach.
My problems are different.
I need to read it again.
Until my spouse reads it, I'm just spinning my wheels.
I'm right and he's wrong.
Try something new with me for awhile. At least during the period of time that you are reading
this book, you can help yourself immensely if you evaluate your life, behaviour, and thinking very differently.
Instead of asking whether the way you are living, behaving, and thinking is "right", I want you to ask whether
the way you are living, behaving and thinking is working or not working.
I suggest that if what you are choosing is not working that by itself tells you that those things are
worthy of change. This outght to make perfect sense, unless, of course, you're more concerned about
being right than being successful. If, on the other hand, your priority is winning and getting what
you want, then at least for the time that you are reading this book, be willing to "move your position"
on anything and everything that we deal with.
You can always go back to your own way of doing things; resolve that if what you are doing is
not working, you will be willing to change it. I don't mean that figuratively, I mean it
literally. If your marriage isn't working, change what you're doing. If your self-management isn't
working, change what you're doing. If your "child management" is not working, even though you're
dead sure that you're right, change it. What have you got to lose? Forget about being right or winning the
arguement about who is right. If what you're doing is not working, change it. Measure your
thinking and behavior by that simple yardstick, is it working or not working? You've been right
long enough; try being a winner instead.
Having read only what you've read so far, you've arrived at a crossroads. In the next few moments,
you'll be making one of the most important decisions in your life. Will you choose to learn the Life
Laws, fold them into a strategy and begin to live purposefully, or will you just continue to bob
along with your hands in your pockets, taking what comes your way and complaining about
what you don't have?
There never is a "good time," so there's no better time than right now. There's no better place
than right here. This book is for people who are saying, "I have had it. I am sick of this. Show
me the Life Laws , show me how to live strategically and show me how to create what I want
in my life. I am ready."
The game has just begun. It's not too late. Whatever your situation-whether it's just that you
suspect that there's something missing from an otherwise quality life, or your life is in a shamble-
there is a strategy that will make you a winner.
Together we're about to make you bottom-line streetwise and real-world savvy. Enough whining
about "bad genes" or "bad luck" or "bad timing". It is your time and your turn.[/i] But you
have to have the guts to face the truth about yourself. Get your feelings hurt, decide it's all too
harsh, and your life is back where it started. But consider these two truths: First, you've
got what it takes, and you're worth the effort it will take to find that truth and build that strategy.
Second: nobody is going to do it for you. But that's okay, because you don't need a brain transplant;
you don't need a spine transplant; you don't need anything that you don't have within you."
You can have the kind of life you want, Fence. It's all out there. You just have to go get it.
You're in the right place for encouragement to go for it. Take courage. Many of us have
been where you are, and there is a whole different universe for you to discover if you just
believe you can do it.
(of the Dr. Phil is my hero class!) ;)
*edited for typos*
From your words and your staus in the cong, it appears you are a younger person. THis is a wonderful challenge to face in your life, dont take it lightly.
" dont know what I want from everyone out there in cyberspace, I guess just some support. "
You can get support, but KNOWING what you want would be better.
"This is so horrible if I leave the truth its going to destroy my parents and my sister I know wont talk to me."
Careful on the doom prophecy, there is enough of that in the WTBTS. its not horrible , its LEARNING to deal with an uncomfortable situation, and there will be many more. You have no wife and children keeping you there, this is a lighter load than it could be. Your parents will probably not understand your decison , unless you can be clear on it as well. If you can sit down and discuss it , then attempt that. IF not write them a letter. Which ever form you choose, explain to them you want to examine the beleifs more carefully , as did the Boreans, to see whether or not this is the right choice for you. You must in all cases respect their OWN belief , not attack them , and behave in a very strong dignified manner. IF you dont have a firm resolve, you cant show them one. If you need time to develop one. THen do that.DOnt RUSH into anything without considering the affects toYOURSELF and your family.
THE ~tide~ will come back your way ,in a large way the first time a "SEEMED" mistake is made. You need to believe in yourself, and if you dont ...you need to find out why.
"Not only that but I have a girl who likes me who is kinda half in half out of the orginization. I told her on the phone last night about how I cant keep myself from questioning things and I could tell she was very upset. WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO!?""
Ah yes the GIRL....it would seem , real hollywood, to take her and run, but I am sure she has afamily as well, which would just DOUBLE your battle now. Perhaps consider your own NEEDS first and developing the strength you need to go your own battle.
"I can't take this its either go along with something that makes me feel like a hypocrite and a liar or leave it and have my family and a good majority of my friends turn their back on me!!"
I see you have this expectation, it may seem overwhelming. You should ask yourself though, which is more important , you own approval ,or theirs.
This my friend is a journey into the dark night of the soul....it was never said to be easy.......you do have a choice though...and remember ....it is YOUR choice....no one elses..
let us know how you make out
On the fence,
Don't they have park benches where you live?
I sympathise with your situation. My thoughts are much the same as the others here. I guess you have to decide whether you are going to live your life on other people's terms or yours.
I lived a good part of my life on other people's terms. I would always do whatever was necessary to win the approval of others. If there weren't a queue to get on the end of, I'd wait for one to form. For years I never asked what I wanted out of life. The whole purpose of my life was to please God, please my parents, the brothers and sisters in the congregation and so on. They stated the terms of our continued association and I complied. One day I got tired of the blackmail and called their bluff. It turned out, they was nothing but a pack of cards.
You must live your life on your terms. You too have the right to set conditions in order to achieve your goals. Your happiness counts just as much as those who try to set the terms that they want you to live by. If those you love are prepared to reject you, then it's better to get through it when you are young, rather than waste half your live worrying about losing them and being blackmailed.
Every word of your post rings with truth and realism!! I couldn't agree more!! Once we do set our own terms and work to achieve them,without the people=pleasing that we did in the past, we truly find ourselves.Wonderful post! regards,Tina
Welcome! Some great advice has been given here. I agree with the idea of slowly distancing yourself because of your family. Also, proceed cautiously with your girlfriend. What's it going to be like if she stays and you go? Not a rosy picture. Love is not enough. You have to have similar interests. She stays, you go=she lives, you are toast in her mind. How would life be with her in that situation?
Maybe even move away from your current congregation. That's what I did. It was a good way to start distancing myself from the WTS. Because I had no knowledge of the WTS's misdeeds at the time, I felt very vulnerable, yet at the same time I knew I couldn't continue. With an "unbelieving" wife and three small kids, I couldn't strike a balance between doing the most that I could for "God's" organization and my primary responsibility: my own family. So I left. I moved, went to a different cong for a while, started working a different schedule that took me away from meetings, then finally got on the net and learned the real deal about the WTS. End of story, and my involvement with the WTS.
I hope you find a plan in our responses to you.
Be glad of one thing, that you're having these questions and the opputunity to leave BEFORE you start your own family. If you just "go with the flow" for a few years, move up the congregations ladder, get married, have kids, etc. believe me, you'll still have the same questions only it will be worse! Be happy that your decision will mostly effect only you.
Regarding your questions, be honest but cautious with people. I'm not a Bible thumper but Jesus did give us a good example. When he knew someone was trying to trap him versus someone who had an honest question, he answered accordingly. Your parents might have some honest questions for you. Most elders, however, will be more concerned with "protecting" the congregation. If you were like me, it was probably drilled into you that disobeying the elders was like disobeying God since you were not listening to those whom He uses. The first thing you need to do is get this bs thought out of your mind. You have every right to truly explore other religions. Go for it! Above all, be honest with yourself. Don't lie just for the sake of not wanting to hurt someone else's feelings.