My Boyfriend is a recent Ex Jehovah Witness
So, even though he has limited contact with his JW parents, he still lied to them about where he was and who he was with.
Despite what he says, he is still attached to his parents. Just like a man who cannot cut off his romantic interest in other woman after going steady, he will always have a leaning towards going back - especially when the going gets tough, as it can do in life.
Go in with your eyes open. If he has lied to his parents, he will lie to you. He learnt long ago that the way you get through life when you cannot possibly meet everyone's demands, is lie.
Stay with this everlasting boy-man and you'll be in for a hiding to no where.
One test: Tell him you have asked for advice from an ex-JW website. Watch his reaction. This is the man you plan to live with.
It's a very difficult situation, both for you and him. You need to determine if he still believes, deep in his heart, that the Jehovah's Witnesses are the only true religion. If he does, then the outcome may not be what you want. Either he will stay with you and feel guilty, or he will go back to the religion. If he goes back and you two are married, he will not have to leave you, but being a non JW married to an active Jehovah's Witness is not conducive to a great marriage. How would you raise your children? He would feel obligated to try and teach them about his religion. How would you handle holidays and birthdays? It's a lot for you to take on. If he goes back before you get married, he will be pressured to leave you, they discourage marriage to unbelievers (non JW).
If he isn't sure or doesn't believe this is the only true religion then you might have hope. Encourage him to learn about the organization, there is a lot about their history and practices that they don't tell their members. They also tell them not to trust any information not put out by the Watchtower, so it's sometimes hard for JW's that leave, they are conditioned to fear information from former members, they call them apostates. If he is open to outside information, have him look at JWfacts.com.
This relationship could work.
Just make sure he wakes up mentally 100%.
Otherwise, a hardship in life or world events could shake him and he could return. And that would doom your relationship. If you are married by that time, it would make for some tough challenges.
People who are physically out will often still defend it. Often they don't understand that it is not "the Truth". Or even if they don't believe in the Bible anymore, they still believe it's the one closest to what the Bible teaches. Even if they know it's not the truth or representative of the Bible or Christianity, they don't understand it was a cult and they don't understand the mind control that they themselves and their loved ones were subjected to. It's very important to come to those realizations.
If he is not waking up, it will take a matter of nuance in helping him do so...if you force it, it could badly backfire.
To LisaRose's excellent comments I would add this:
Even ex-JWs who no longer believe it can succumb to family pressure to go back.
Indeed, that is one of the biggest criticisms of JW organization's shunning policy: It literally forces people to choose between their non-JW way of life and their JW family's beliefs.
It is all very well someone declaring, "I want my own life". It is quite another to stick to that resolve when the going gets tough and/or the individual realizes how deep family ties run.
I came in to say something similar as Lisa just did. Be very wary going forward - many members of this forum are people that married an exJW and had children with them only to watch as the cult recaptured their spouse (and sometimes their kids). It's not uncommon for JWs to leave the cult for one reason or another (usually love, but sometimes they'll leave to escape other restrictions) but never truly understand how they were controlled, and what it really is. Unfortunately this condition often leads to these people returning to the cult during a stressful time (new or failed relationships, birth of a child, death of a family member, relocation, etc). To prevent this, it's important that you have a very honest and frank discussion with him about what he thinks of JWs. Is there any part of him that thinks it might still be "the truth" or does he know it's a cult? Don't accept anything less than certainty that he will never go back. If he gives you this certainty, you should ask for his reasons. You want the reasons for him not going back to have absolutely nothing to do with you. His reasons should be some subset or combination of the ones below (there are others, but they're probably less common and more minor)
- It's an overly controlling doomsday cult that is full of hypocrisy
- It has made many false predictions of the coming of armageddon
- It has caused the unnecessary death of tens of thousands of people by pressuring members to reject life-saving medical treatment
- It continues to put children at risk through it's policies around child sexual abuse
- Its policies on shunning break apart friendships and families and are tantamount to emotional blackmail
- Its leadership generally lies and cheats whenever convenient
- It is an organization obsessed with money, and money only flows up to benefit the leadership and those close to them.
- It uses unethical means of manipulation to control and retain its members
- And, bottom line, there is absolutely no way that it is "the truth" nor could it possibly be "god's organization" nor could it ever have been.
These are the sorts of logical, factual reasons that you need to hear to be sure that he will not eventually want to go back, and want you to go with him. If at that time you have children, he'll do his best to indoctrinate them as well. If his reasons are emotional or personal (he was never happy as a JW, he loves you and you're more important, someone in the cult hurt his feelings and made him mad, etc) then that's an ok starting point, but you need to get him to start reading sites like jwfacts.com, jwsurvey.org, this forum and others. Steve Hassan's books (www.freedomofmind.com) are also informative on how cults in general work and that would also go a long way to helping him to understand what's been done to him and why it's not his fault that he was fooled for as long as he was.
In the end, if he refuses to look at any of that information on JWs and fails to agree with what it is, then my best advice for you is to move on. Continuing the relationship would be putting yourself in an extremely risky situation, practically begging for future heartbreak and turmoil. It's painful advice, but it's much easier to move on now than when you have children with him and he's trying to indoctrinate them into a cult that also happens to be a breeding ground for pedophiles.
I'm aware that what I'm saying here will probably seem extreme, but it pains me to see people get wrapped up in this horrible cult if they could've avoided it with the right information at the right time. I wish you nothing but happiness and the best of luck. Hopefully when you talk to him he'll show that he already understands that it's a false cult and you two will be able to move on together (and hopefully he'll be more forthcoming about things in the future, since it seems he's concealed this from you for some time).
WIT12, You have received a lot of really good, balanced advice in response to your post.
I would like to add that it is extremely significant that most of us refer to our former religion as a cult.
DO NOT MISS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS FACT!
Most ex-JWs have had many--and for some of us, all--family relationships destroyed as a result of our association with this religion.
You probably don't like hearing this, but you need to. Ignore it at your own peril. Listen and learn.
Firstly, welcome to the site.
This is like de ja vu!!!!!! (I am a fading ex-J.W. by the way)
I had a long term connection with a girl who was in exactly the same situation as yourself. She tried every way possible to get the love of her life to waken up to the fact that he was in a cult. After two years of anguish, she was dumped and he returned to the family home! She is now recovering from her lengthy mental trauma and ditching.
Unless your boyfriend can see - and admit it to you & himself - that he's been immersed into a cult, then do exactly as St. George of England advised, run like hell!
I hope your choice comes easily and quickly - whichever way it goes.
Yep...I think what OneEyedJoe said is the most comprehensive comment on this thus far. Read and reread it.
WIT12: i'll never be able to understand how a religion can destroy the bond that should naturally exist between a parent and their kid.
We get this. That's because you do not understand cult dynamics and we do. We have learned this the hard way: through painful, personal experience.
Learn from our mistakes and save yourself a lot of heartache and grief.
I can understand your not wanting to be 'the girl who made him leave The Truth™.' As your relationship moves forward, please be aware that there can be times when he will be enticed to return, such as when you decide to start a family - unless he is well and truly OUT, he may feel that his children's lives depend on him going back, and taking the children to JW events so that they can have a relationship with his JW family.
Think about this too: He was willing to sneak around behind his parents' backs for a year before they even knew you existed. While it really can be impossible to be completely honest with JWs (because they judge your decisions and try to make your life miserable), it's really important that you get him to understand that you don't want those kinds of secrets in your relationship with him. He's developed a habit over the last year of lying to some of his closest family members and friends, and I would hate to see it carry on with you at some later point in your relationship with him.