Lord, to whom shall we go?

by Lee Elder 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • Lee Elder
    Lee Elder

    Once someone figures out that the Watchtower is not a safe place for their family, they come face to face with the question of where they should be. I don't have the answer for that, but can speak to my personal experience over the past 20 years.

    I ended up taking a 12 year break from organized religion, and then read an article about a new group that had formed locally called Aldea Spiritual Community. After a few visits, I realized that I had found a home among others who were fed up with organized religion. Aldea started with less than 20 people, and just one doctrine. To hold love as their highest value. A place where Christians, atheists, Buddhists, Jews, agnostics, and anyone else would be welcomed without exception or condition.

    This is a very special place with people who are welcoming, loving and non-judgemental. Social justice is at the heart of the community, as is the desire to celebrate and enjoy life in all its fullness.

    I wish that all of you had access to something like Aldea. It is a model of what a safe place for ex-JWs might look like.



  • stillin

    Good for you, Lee! How did you find them? What is the meaning of "Aldea?" How often do they get together and what is he get-together like? Sounds kind of AA-ish. I respect the AA thing but if you aren't an alcoholic they aren't as open-arms with you.

  • Still Totally ADD
    Still Totally ADD

    Sounds a lot alike the Unitarian Universalist. Still Totally ADD

  • Giordano

    I couldn't make head or tail of their web site, especially their message of love. There was mention of loving God and people. I don't mind loving people as in caring about them, helping, doing good deeds etc.

    But I have to draw the line at loving god .......how in the world do you love a god who once got pissed off and drowned an entire world and every living thing that was not on the arc?

    This is the same god that wants to kill off just about everyone on this planet at Armageddon. A god that hasn't done anything to make peoples lives a little better.

    Now I understand those are just bible stories.........however when something violates common sense and common decency you don't love it ......you fix it or toss it out.

    You know the People's Temple had a good reputation re the food and shelter and friendship they provided for their first couple of years.

    Same with the Moonies, and Scientologists,,,,,,,,, join any one of these and a thousand others and eventually your on pathway to a living hell.

    Sorry........ in my book you don't cozy up to a needless religion.

  • Wasanelder Once
    Wasanelder Once

    The witnesses said we have a "Spiritual need" that must be met. Those kinds of buzzwords become adopted as a "Truth" by believers. The same as "The Truth". We were indoctrinated that God has a "truth" we must find. A "true" religion etc. are watchwords for the fraudulent bodies of believers. Out of a measure of caution, many of us hesitate to see any group, including one that is organized, yet denies it is organized, as worthy of our time. It seems you have gotten past that. I have not. My knee jerk reaction is to say run away. Keep your eyes opened and your checkbook/debit card close to you vest my friend. Just being an ex JW here.

  • Lee Elder
    Lee Elder

    I get the skepticism. Aldea is a spanish word that literally means village. As for the Bible, they take it seriously, not literally. Bible stories are largely viewed as metaphor. Difficult passages are largely viewed as examples of where humans simply got it wrong. God is viewed as a loving presence.

    A typical Sunday starts with 15 minutes of music, meditation, candle lighting, and then a message - generally on living the best life possible, and all of the things that entails. Being the best version of ourselves that we can be. There is only one doctrine and requirement for membership - to hold love as your highest value.

    There is no looking up of scripture, books or literature. No rules, no judgement. There are community groups that meet in homes 2 times a year for six weeks to share a meal and discuss whatever they choose. There is a men's group, and a women's that meets every Tuesday for happy hour at a local restaurant. There are 1 or 2 parties most months that always include alcohol. There is a social justice activity every month - we do a lot with Habitat for Humanity.

    I've been with this group since 2010. The people are amazing. Doctors, lawyers, dentists, psychiatrist, teachers, physical therapist, business owners, several former ministers, a Phd in Marriage and family counseling, a nobel laureate that attends from time to time - you get the picture. Not the kind of folks who would ever put up with the kind of nonsense we experienced in the Watchtower.

    Its not right for everyone. If you are looking for answers to life's big questions, or lots of structure - its not the place. However, I think its the kind of model that will appeal to many former JWs.

  • Lee Elder
    Lee Elder

    Here is a pretty good example of what a Sunday talk sounds like. This one is on anxiety.


    You can find all of the messages for the past 5 years or so here:


    For any of you are are now, or in the future, looking for ideas on how to build healthy communities with useful messages, you will find many useful ideas.

    The building is modest, in some ways much like a Kingdom Hall. There are no crosses or images or alter. However, there is a room for children, and a nursery, as well as a children's director.

    There is a paid part time pastor, and an administrator. The children's director and the music pastor are paid small salaries. Everything else is done by volunteers. The budget for the whole operation is around 100-120 thousand a year.

Share this