To Rick on H2O...
I just posted this on H2O and though I'd put a copy here as well...
I just thought it may be appropriate for me to express my appreciation for your site and what you have accomplished over the last few years and I'm sure will continue to do.
Like many others, H2O was one of the sites which helped to open my eyes to the WatchTower Society and beliefs and practices of Jehovahs Witnesses and realise that there were things seriously wrong which a lot of other people saw as well - it wasn't just limited to our local congregation.
I did participate on H2O occasionally as Caliban but never really kept up-to-date with all the posters, personalities and what was going on between them.
The reason I decided to create an alternative forum, www.jehovahs-witness.com, was because at the time it appeared that the very pro-JW community was well served by WitNet and the anti-JW's had H2O but that it may have been a bit too much for the 'mildly curious' JW to visit. My idea was to have a forum more like WitNet which would gradually allow more open discussion than was allowed there without being too off putting to many as a way of introducing the issues to them more gently.
I'm sure your views and standpoints have changed over the years and mine have too. There are people at different stages who need different things. I haven't set out to compete with H20 although it may appear that I am doing by some peoples posts. I think it's good to have more than one place that people can go to - we are both here for pretty much the same reasons after all? I know I do things a bit differently but that is not because I think having a FPP or moderators is a bad thing - it's just a different approach that I have taken. No better, no worse, just different.
You ask if I am a JW in good standing or ever was a JW ? Well, since I asked a few questions at a 'shepherding call' which the elders seemed unable or unwilling to answer I have had talks given about me (apparently I'm the anti-christ) and one local elder in particular spread it around the congregation that I was 'an apostate' (this was before I started any web-sites). Myself and my family have been subjected to continued harrassment including malicious phone calls to family members in other congregations to try and turn them against us, having my car vandalised (with apostate written on it and nails put in the tyres) and them trying to stop my father speaking to me (we had just got in contact again after missing many years bacuse the elders told me I should not speak to him when he was df'd). This culminated a few months ago in a 'sham trial' where they claimed I had disassociated myself for refusing to meet with the elders even though I had a three hour judicial committe meeting with six of them. No doubt they have now announced this lie to others from the platform and we find ourselves almost totally cut-off from friends and family. WHY ? Because we doubted, because we asked questions, because that is how they work to keep control.
I am honestly just trying to do my bit to help others who may be going through the same thing and also to do something positive that I can channel my energy into to help myself. If I can help someone, somewhere to avoid having to go through some of the things I have then it will be worth the effort.
There are many who would love to cause contention among us apostates / dissenters / ex-members (delete as appropriate) so they can point to us and say "See, look at them, didn't we tell you...they are evil..." and I know people have received emails faked to make them look like I sent them containing viruses etc... (I have recieved them myself). They hate to see us helping each other and providing support to others and providing areas where people can ask questions and discuss things without fear of retribution.
I don't know if I have a point to all this really. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the effort you put into H2O (I know how much time and money it takes now !) and understand how some comments that have been made have not exactly been encouraging.
Thanks for sharing, I was curious about you myself. I don't think this board was set up in opposition or competition to Rick's but I do feel that this board is fulfilling my needs better at this time. I missed all the hub bub a few months ago at Rick's site, but when I returned from my travels the board had taken a definite turn. Hoping Rick's site improves in tenor, it serves God in a great way, as does yours.
Sorry for all the trouble the Borg has given you, hope you and your father can reamin in touch.
hoping you find a new church home.
There is more of heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosphy, Horatio.
Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities
this is where the love is,
I just wanted to tell you that I think you are a class act.
You have style, not to mention heart. You are greatly appreciated.
I just want to say thank you to you too for this site. I had been intending to send you an email expressing my gratitude but seeing this topic, I'll tell you here.
I too started just reading posts at H20 since I was ready to start searching more information out about the WTS, but was too timid to jump in at that time. Some postings lead me to 'freeminds' site and from there, I found this site. I am so grateful for this avenue of healing and learning and appreciate the caring, empathy, caliber of knowledge that I see here so far. It's just what I needed...to know that there are so many out there in the same boat I'm in and not be made to feel guilty for doubting the things I've been taught that just haven't added up once I started to really ponder over things.
I was raised in the "truth" but I started losing my faith due to a lot of things, in family life. I was finally moved to post some of those things in my "Hi..I'm new here" story here about a month ago. I was so nervous about posting but the response I received just overwhelmed me. (I registered as had_enough just a week before you were making some technical adjustments to the site and I couldn't get back in so I re-registered as Had Enough and have posted under that name since.)
Anyway...I just wanted to express my gratitude for all you have done to create this site. I agree with riz that you have style and heart dispite what the WTS has put you and your family through.
Just reading your experience and all the others here, just helps me so much in my conviction that I've done the right thing in no longer associating.
Thank you again,
To be honest, although the logical arguments convinced me that 'the truth' wasn't "The Truth" it was the personal experiences that swung it for me. Up till then, I always kind of thought that it must be something wrong with me, that I was doing something wrong. It did help me a lot knowing that other people had gone through similar things and reading comments that others had made which I could relate to.
I worry sometimes that if the society crumbles a bit too fast that there won't be the support in place to help people. We need H2O, JW.com and all the other boards and people doing their bit. The great thing about having lots is that people can use the ones that appeal to them.
I feel the same way Simon, about if the Society crumbles too fast the people will need all the help they can get. If that happens, many will probably be still at the point that many of us were at, thinking that we were the only ones who had "the truth", so their whole foundation will have been destroyed and they won't know which way to turn. At least with many of us, our transition has been gradual.
My enlightenment started with doubts too (even though I repressed them, blaming my lack of faith), then culminated with my son being officially da'd by the elders.(long story) The final crunch came for me when I read the 'Crisis' book and learned more of what the WTS and the GB had done while claiming to be directed by God.
I remember the disbelief, the shock, the anger and the resulting tears of sadness at seeing all the things I had been taught and based my life on, just crumble away before my eyes. I just felt empty for a while, but coming to these sites has been the best medicine I could have found. I know that as time goes on, many many more will be joining us and hopefully there will be enough sites to help them all.
They'll sure need it!
I love the way you always take the high road. You're a class act, no doubt about it. I suspect that is why alot of people are flocking in here to this site. The atmosphere would draw them in. It's friendly,intelligent, usually calm, and respectful, much like yourself.
I would hate to see it change to become like H20. Although H20 was the first place I found on the net regarding the Borg, it was also apparent fairly quickly that alot of hate resided there, and it made me uncomfortable to always be dealing with people's huge piles of anger. I just didn't enjoy it, and still don't go there very often. When I see some of those same people coming here and trying to change the flavor of this forum to that same twisted outlook at H20, it makes me cringe, to be honest. I can slam-dunk people with the best of them, but I can't honestly say that it gives me much pleasure to do it. Better an intelligent, respectful conversation than the mindless angry drivel I see going on over there so much of the time.
In any case, thanks for maintaining this forum, and being the classy guy you are.
Simon, I'm a refugee from H20. When the old site shut down I found the new site was terribly slow and I quickly gave up trying to follow it. This site is much more user friendly for me personally. I have been out for 20 years - d'fd for apostasy in 1981, even though I'd never read any anti jw literature or knew any others who had left. Just want to point out how unreasonable they were even 20 yrs ago. I've lost most of my family to the Org., and I find it really helpful, even 20 yrs down the track, to have somewhere warm and friendly, where I can touch base and get my spirit refreshed from those who've been there, done that. Thank you for this site.
I too loved the old H20 site. The threads were easy to follow and you could reply to a specific thread or even start a new one under an existing one. When the old H20 shut down and the new one started, I also found it slow to load and kind of hard to navigate, so I came here.
I do miss all of the people from H20. There were some interesting ones there!