Are you happy to have been a JW? Is there a constructive side in it all for you? Or do you wish you had never seen their culty smiles?
Thanks for starting this thread, Brummie. It is good to look at the bright side of being a JW, for more balance.
I wish I had never been a JW, and believe my life would be so much better if I hadn't. I consider the JWs to be a dangerous religion.
That said, every cloud does have a silver lining. Here are some good things that resulted from me being a JW:
They taught me public speaking skills. The Theocratic Ministry Guidebook is the best book I have ever seen for public speaking. Knowing how to publicly speaking has been life-changing. It has helped my career and my relationships tremendously.
Field service taught me how to make call colds. This helps me make cold call for career reasons, or when helping a charity. It is amazing how many people will not knock on a door even to ask directions.
Because of the JWs and their bible-reading schedule, I have read the Bible cover to cover at least 3 times (it only takes 10-15 minutes a day for a year and a half). Since I don't have much use for the Bible, I don't know why I appreciate this, but I do.
The JWs gave me a better knowledge of the Bible than most religions do. Unfortunately, they don't give an indepth knowledge of the Bible. The Book of Daniel is much less mysterious when one takes its verses in context. The Skeptical Review is great for such understanding. Of course, when one gets the sense of much of the OT, one finds that a lot of the Bible is just human thoughts. But, I digress.
A co-worker taught me to never be ashamed of being a JW and being who I am. That was an invaluable life lesson.
I learned what it is like to be on the receiving end of prejudice.
Though the demands of my career and of being a JW were not healthy, they combined to make me very organized when I set my mind to it. It is amazing what a person can do when they set their mind to it.
Because of being a JW I learned that it is vital that I think for myself, make my own decisions, and set my own moral standards. And the importance of not giving in to social pressures. And that just because someone is in a position of authority or has a level of expertise...and I don't...they can still be dead wrong.
If I hadn't been a JW, it would have been much longer before I learned that rules are good as guidelines and not as divine mandates. Every situation is unique, and what is a good rule 99% of the time should not be applied 100% of the time.
Even now I am still learning that I have things in my lifestyle that are still attached to the WTower but they are harmless (I think) and can be stripped off in the way someone would pick a cobwed off their clothes!
Same here. I anticipated that, and as far as I can tell, I have removed the harmful elements.