[Sorry for the long post]
I have been eagerly waiting to find another opportunity to write here. I am somewhat done just ranting about the usual stuff that comes out of the Watchtower Society and its continuous, relentless futile effort to look like or resemble the organization that their alleged God would accept and proclaim as his own. I started several times, writing about some hot of the moment subjects but after a while, it would become clear to me that I was really off topic, or my writing began to sounds like a rant. Not that ranting is wrong. In fact, I can be pretty damn good at ranting (i.e. being loud lol).
Nevertheless, I would have not the time nor the intention of writing anything that would be less than half interesting at this point. I feel this time I may have just found something and I figure that if I did not, you all would let me know.
Some of you may recall a posting by me from a while back, where I sort of described some fantastic changes coming to my life.
Not only those changes sounded exciting, they actually turned out to be ten times better than I expected. The old indoctrinated me would have recalled the old WT mantra “Jehovah would bless you with cresces” because that is what it feels like. The difference is this time I am crediting Karma and I am not short changing myself. I do give myself credit, as well as the people around me that supported me on this quest. I am now even looking at yet another chapter of this. I am looking at a real shot at becoming a C level at the company where I work. Is far in the future and is not guaranteed, but I would be a fool if I just sat down and waited on lady luck (or Karma) to bless me. If I don’t get it, at least I will be able to say I tried.
One of those exciting changes coming to my life and one that I failed to mention in my previous posting (big shame on me) is that I also happened to find some wonderful people whom I met back in my old congregation and that they turned out to be as “mentally deceased” as I am. We even have a name for the group which I will not disclose. I am afraid google will give us away.
Back then I had visited with a counselor and the first question he asked was “What or who is your support network”. I sadly had to admit to having none. My parents are old and far away in South America. The last thing they need is for me to bring this cult issues up to them and worry them. My wife was not as understanding back then as she is today. Adding insult to injury and while I did have friends, they were not the kind of friends you tell personal things to. Not the kind you hang out with and much less the type with whom you may have common experiences (i.e. ex-cult members). In simple words, I had not had a beer with a friend in like 18 years. Until I found them.
Finding them was a religious experience on its own. We began gathering about once a month. The discussion were illuminating. They didn’t deviate much from what you may find in this site but they had the added plus of being about local people or congregations. They were especially illuminating for me. I was never big in the congregation. It wasn’t until my last few meetings when I was already awake that they began to trust me with the mics (ironic, I know). My friends, in the other hand, were all ex-elders or ex-MS. The things I’ve heard from them were jaw dropping. I highly credit them with some of the changes I have seen in my wife. I am not going to dive on describing them individually but I will give a generic overview of the bunch.
Some in the group still believe in Jehovah, but not in his “organization”. Some are in the fence and some have straight out become atheists. Some have higher degrees of freedom when it comes to expressing their views among JW family members while others still have to keep a low profile. Some have gone from being inactive to come under the threat of disfellowshipping during the time we started to meet. We have been spied on in an extremely obvious manner (as in... dude, we can see you from here) and we have good reasons to believe some of our closest relatives are talking about us among each other even though they may have never met before.
Despite all of the above, we never been happier. No judging, no preferences… just peace and good company.
As it would be expected, one of us eventually proposed an addition to the group. A friend of his who had left the truth a long time ago but was unaware of our gatherings. He did warn us that he was a bit unorthodox in his current belief. I had never personally met him before but I did know who he was and what he was into. Despite her faith, my mother in law used to visit with this guy looking for alternative cures to her made up health problems. But he also warned us that he was now much deeper into it, to the point he could diagnose you with just looking at you. Or so he claimed.
We invited him to our next gathering and it was immediately obvious that our group was not going to be the same again. For starters, you could see he was having a hard time hiding his smirks. Somewhat our bible and spiritual discussions, even though it was clear we were having a debate not a religious meeting, sounded too ridiculous for him to tolerate. It wasn’t long before he began to express his views. Not that this should be a problem. We all have different views. One more was not going to hurt us. Is the attitude in which the views were expressed that made it clear to me this was no average discussion.
I am not going to dive into his beliefs because I wish I could say I understand what he believes in. They are all over the freaking place. Many contradict each other to say the least, yet they seem to make perfect sense to him. After a while, we invited him to a chat group which we use to keep up with each other in a daily basis. I created the group so it felt on my laps to add him as a member. I tried to engage the others in a discussion regarding him. My intention was not to judge him. My concern was that some of us in the group were still struggling with indoctrinated relatives and that his presence in the group would further convince our relatives that we are “trapped by the devil” and that they need to help us find our way back to the truth. I was certainly not the one who would get affected by this. Off we went.
Initially it was nothing out of the usual. Some of the things he was prophesying were not unheard of… computer simulated reality, drug induced “altered state of consciousness”, etc. With the twist that it was also clear that this were not some debatable ideas in his views. These were facts of life for him. All fine and dandy if you ask me, he can believe whatever he wants. Another thing that was becoming increasingly clear was the source of all this information. You see, many of us get information from many sources. Some may be questionable but at the end of the day, the decisions and comments we make can be nothing more than another expression of free speech. It is when he began to add hints of a cultish background tha it began to concern me.
As a group, we constantly told each other things we did not know about almost every subject. Whether it was gossip about an elder or the latest science discovery, the point was to share information and experiences in the hopes that such would help us deal with the situation at hand. Hardly ever this was a point of contention. The truth mattered to us just as much as it mattered to anyone else in the world. As these gatherings and the daily chats continued to happen, the cultish language began to show its ugly head. I once asked this new guy what was it the convinced him some of the things he believes were true. He evaded the answer by simply saying he was still in a learning process. Yet, when he would cast his opinion about related matters, not only sounded very convinced, but the language used never left any room to doubt he was speaking from a perspective of knowledge and understanding. Curiosity got the best of me and I did some research on the subject matter and the books he claimed to have read. What I found felt nothing short of cultish propaganda. One of the gurus he follows has extensive material online and several claims of supernatural abilities. He calls those who “get it” (like the guy in question) as opposed to those who don’t get it by different labels. In his writings he compels people to think in a way that nothing else matters and to a degree, with enough insistence on this point, could drive people to leave family behind in order to pursue this higher enlightenment. In fact, some claim to have done this after learning this new truth. This guru has been investigated by the FBI and has at least one cause of abuse against him. Despite bringing up to him all these issues, his simple answer is that there are plenty of bad press online about almost anyone. He also claims to have read plenty on cults. Hassan, etc. Yet, it baffles me that he won’t even begin to question any of it. I could go on and on but I believe I made the point.
While the above bothered me ever more, it wasn’t until he got much closer to conspiracy theories that I began pondering on what to do. The illuminati, The Matrix, flat earth (that one was the straw that broke the camel's back for me). It has gotten to a point that even another one of us is kind of following him at a short distance. The son of the one friend who brought him over is also there as well. The voice of reason is no longer needed in our group. The same reasoning that justifies bashing the Watchtower is not good enough to filter reality from fiction. In other words, he left one cult just to fall in the next one and, while may be inadvertently, trying to recruit us into it. More and more I felt the same way as if an elder had joined our apostate group under the pretense of being “open minded”
As for me, it has gotten to a point where I sadly saw no other option but to part ways. At least from the group as a whole. For a while I tried to be that voice of reason but after two or three attempts, I figure that he does not care. Just like Moulder in the X-Files, he wants to believe. Who am I to get in his way? I been told time after time that my take on things is welcomed and appreciated in the group, even necessary. If a simple math problem is challenged or dismissed as if I had said nothing, would I ever look to my family with a straight face and tell them that I missed out on certain work opportunities because I was arguing non-sense online? I don’t think so. Meanwhile, every sensible discussion to which he does not agree with is met with this “you need to remove your ego” mantra. Reminds me so much of the “be humble and do what you are told” that we all got while we were still JWs.
With a heavy heart, I am forced to admit to myself that this is one of those things that seemed too good to be true. More than ever is far evident that the organization does a great job at preventing people from really relating to one another and getting to know each other. Had this not gone down the path that it did, I could be looking at describing my own “paradise” right here on earth. I love my family and I love my friends. The American dream is ever closer to being a reality. My dream is now at risk of missing some very important people. Nonetheless, I don’t plan on letting that stop me from being happy.
This time though, I am going to follow my cultish friend own advice. I am going to remove that ego that tells me I must change his mind. Peace, at last.