i'm not sure how useful this post will be, but I feel compelled to write it. With many of my older posts, I wrote them with a younger JW version of me in mind. With this I write it with a younger newly ex JW in mind.
Ten years ago I went to my presiding overseer and told him my concerns about WT owning 'rand cam' military stocks, about unfulfilled prophecy and human error in the governing body and the theocratic consequences of such. I poured my heart out about 'new light' about the bible translation, about everything that you have read here on this forum and the associated websites. It was about 4 years research all spewed out in one evening.
Overnight I lost everything. Literally I went from being a JW that was clearly having a 'crisis of conscience' to a JW who was no longer welcome, simply by being honest with regard to my concerns. I had been a pioneer, a bethelites and contributed much to the RBC projects locally. My youth was sacrificed to WT and I say that regrettably with whole remorse, but it's true, I was a WT kid through and through.
But I come to write today, ten years on to say...... It's was all utter garbage, it is 100% b.s. You don't leave the organisation and start doubting if it was in fact true , you don't even miss it's teachings! They all seem vulgar, simplistic and violent when you leave!Neither do you miss the daily guilt, the feeling of worthlessness snd under achievement, despite giving it all. Those feelings have simply.....GONE.
It's not without consequence that I was raised in a cult, it affects me most days, but minimally so now. Initially you pine for the people you thought loved you, but this dissipates after a few years as you mature and realise how real life works, how love bombing works and social occlusion in cults. You start pitying and feeling angry on behalf of the mass you left behind, but that too, after a couple of years turns to disappointment at their lack of will to question anything or act on obvious lies and contradictions. Your energy at this point is spent in better things and you shrug at the person you love who whilst throws out JW comments, refuses to engage in reasoned, logical, factual responses or questions in return. You see them embarrassingly close down, get angry in an instant and you see them preparing to fire the 'A' word at you for daring to question the 6 uneducated, middle aged blokes of Brooklyn they will never meet, yet follow to the grave unquestionably.
"So, so, so, so...... dumb! "You will hear yourself say....not them,,the old you that once acted in exactly the same way!
This forum is a welcome refuge and resource and if you look back through the decades you will see a trend of personalities, coming, going, being core contributors for some years whilst they repair the wounds and establish a real life, then they move on. This is how I have experienced this forum too. If you feel almost addicted and dependant to this place after leaving or starting to question, don't worry it's a safe haven and it wears off as you strengthen and rebuild your life. This place is an emotional crutch and in being such a huge help, it takes some time to walk away from.
Starting over in life is difficult. I highly recommend getting back into education and trying hard at the life goals you had as a youth but dismissed/were denied. Anything is achievable, it just requires effort, determination and self belief. From experience, not one prayer or contribution to WT is required. Neither do you have to sell your soul to Beelzebub. People in the real world will get on with 'real life' and have done for thousands of years, without telling stories of prayer magically bringing tax returns on the day of s bill or spare shoes or boxes of fruit and vegetables. People work hard and are rewarded for such. Go to school, work hard and you get to pick a job with a higher probability, it's as simple as that.
I think the largest two issues once you leave that seems somewhat persisting, is the loss of people such as family and friends and your interaction with new people. As for the people that shun you, that's their call not yours. I personally make an effort to say hello, via FB, email or otherwise to people I was close to and family at least every year, some respond some don't. But you can't make someone talk to you and if they have chosen to follow a cult with primitive, draconian doctrine, all you can do is pity them and be glad you escaped.
As for new people in my life, I find this hardest. I don't give as much of myself as I used to. In my job we rotate in roles regularly and I work with different teams. They tend to be very social and outgoing. I am no hermit, but I don't connect with them as other do for sure. I have put it down to seeing all those friends lost over night, people I loved for years, all that time and effort and friendship, gone in an instant. It hardened me and it's a sad consequence, but a real one.
My first post-JW relationship has been fun, but difficult. She's religious, I'm not. In fact she is in a very similar belief system to the witnesses and I'm the naughty non believer mate. It's an ironic and bizzare position to be in and I hate it....... but this is life!
i guess I want to convey that..........everything works out.....it all ends up being ok...
if you are at the point of thinking of leaving or even daring to question what you believe, I'm sure you are terrified, I was. But .........it's ok this side of the wall! More than that.... It's actually very, very, good, you have freedom of thought, action and spirit. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean drugs, alcohol and jail.... I'm a better human being now than I ever was as a JW praying for the world to end so we could live in log cabins on someone else's hard earned land. But if you fancy drugs, alcohol and jail, then it's yours for the taking! The most empowering thing about leaving is the freedom and recognising just how tight those WT chains were on you and your loved ones.
Oh yeah, you won't believe how BANANAS the beliefs were, once you leave........ You will have a new appreciation of just how duped a person can be! No more head scratching when you see celebrities and people believe in the alien overlord Xenu..... You once believed a linen salesman in Brooklyn was a prophet........ Oh and he has some 'miracle wheat' he wants to sell you.....
Lastly ....what is left to believe? What's true? What's the true religion? What happens when we die? Wow, it feels so good to say 'I/we don't know' ...... Some religious people may mock you for this, but be weary of anyone that claims to know things that everyone else on earth doesn't, especially when the info is in exchange for money and/or obedience!
Enjoy reading world history, the history of religions, devour the history of the bible! Who wrote it, where, when, why, how? if you really want the truth, you can only trust your motives in finding it and it's quite exciting to go find it.
I'm an atheist. I'm pro-science. I believe in evolution and I am fascinated with abiogenesis and the early universe. I don't have the answers, and it feels great to admit it!
hope this helped someone,