My 1 Year Update - I've Been Disfellowshipped One Year Today
What a journey!
It was a year ago today that i was announced from the platform by Brother Paul "Twofaced" Castley that i was "no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses". I didn't go to that meeting to hear the announcement because i already didn't believe the Watchtower religion.
How was my first year? Well, it's had it's ups and downs for sure. More ups than downs though. My wife moved out to live with her parents, we're still not divorced yet, just "separated" and we share custody of our little girl. Fortunately, my little one was only 2yo when this happened so she slid into the new routine as if nothing had happened. My family, former friends and everyone i knew cut me off immediately.
At the time i still believed in God, but i didn't know who he/she was. So i spent 2 months reading the bible from beginning to end. Not the New World Bastardization, i real bible. I used the NIV (although i have many bibles). I read it on the way to work, on the way home from work and at home until bedtime. I highlighted scriptures that i didn't understand or that i wanted deeper insight on and looked them up online or in bible encyclopedias. Strictly no JW.org or WT Library allowed. I spoke to Catholic priests, i questioned Church Of England vicars, i spoke to a Rabbi, even a Hari Krishna monk (they were more culty than i ever was!). Eventually i read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and, wow, i had to be honest with myself and accept that i had no reason to believe in any God.
So there i was. An atheist. And guess what, life became so much simpler and less worrying with zero guilt for sleeping with a girl or not praying before i eat. Sometimes, even now, i get the urge to pray before im about to eat. So i look up the sky and jokingly say "Thanks Thor!". ;)
I was almost homeless because i had to move out within a few weeks, non of my family would help even though they knew i might be homeless. With 2 days to go "worldly" people helped me find a place to move into, and here i am. Moved house, decorated, collected Hindu idols, joined clubs to get me out and meeting people: life drawing, German language pub meetups, photography club and piano. I swapped Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings at the KH for learning something new. So now i have lots more interests and a lot more love for life.
I dated a teacher who was the image of Katy Perry, I've photographed naked beautiful women for "art purposes" in my photography class, i got high in Amsterdam, i spent 8 hours in a gay bar with my gay friend and left a 7am (i was so hungover that day!), i volunteer to get groceries for an old lady in my street who's in her 90s that cant do it herself, im a member of a political party and i feel great for all of those things. I never did anything useful as a JW but now i feel a part of my community and im happy with who or what i am.
I look at still-in JW's and see how depressed they are. They're looking forward to the "new system" but they don't know they could have that joy and fellowship with their fellowman now. They just have to do it and work towards it.
My very first post is here: https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/5748015927132160/trying-leave-im-going-crazy notice the tone of how stressed and anxious i was, compare to now and the posts after i left.
Thank you everyone on this site. You all helped me more than you'll ever know. I feel like i know you somehow, i recognize your avatars, your names, your style of writing and i have a few favorites that i look forward to reading. Dubstepped and Chook, you two in particular are like my new brothers;) im glad we keep in contact.
So, anyone who's just left or is planning to: it's alot better once you're out if you embrace being out and have a thirst for truth - not matter how inconvenient or blunt it may be, and just go with it. Come on here and rant if you want and ask questions.
Thanks again everyone.
Happy anniversary! Cheers 🍻
Sometimes, even now, i get the urge to pray before im about to eat.
Routine is a powerful influence. I had the urge to pray before going to bed for years after I left. Sometimes I would give in and say a monotonous little prayer even though I didn't believe in God, because, why not.
It's been about 14 years since I began to realize it wasn't the truth. About 11 since I stopped going to meetings altogether. Every now and then I still find myself reacting to a certain situation in pre-programmed JW way.
It sounds like you're doing quite well and finding your way in life. You're certainly further along than I was 1 year out.
Looks like you hit the ground running! I know the feeling- so much to catch up on!
Congrats- your post just reminds me how great life is once you start doing what you really want and not just going through the motions out of obligations.
Hope next year is even better!
happy re-birth day Emperor!
So there i was. An atheist. And guess what, life became so much simpler and less worrying with zero guilt for sleeping with a girl or not praying before i eat. Sometimes, even now, i get the urge to pray before im about to eat. So i look up the sky and jokingly say "Thanks Thor!"
It's unfortunate you lost your faith in God, but I understand why this horrible religion drove you away. Any religion that isolates its members to control them is damnable in my book. And any religion that uses HELL as a means of control also is damnable in my book. (Check out the content of YouTube and the number of "I Went To HELL" videos that pop up.) It's a hard sell to describe such a place of torture, then tell people, "God loves you but if you don't do this and that, that's where you'll end up!"
The JWs are all about control and manipulation, and they can rob people of their friends and family and leave them alone in the world. Others use the fear of HELL to intimidate.
It's unfortunate that you lost your family. I assume your wife left because you blew off the Society. How did she react when you first mentioned your intentions? Were there fireworks or did she go silent? Is she afraid you might influence your daughter?
That new found freedom must feel good, doesn't it????
Look no further than Ephesians 2:8,9 in your NIV or NKJ bibles.
Wow you sound like you are doing fab! I am a bit of a wreck two years on but perhaps getting into things more as you describe will help! Congrats! Also I will now be thanking Thor for my meals rather than pausing for a sec- til I remember- for my never was a JW partner to pray!
Hey PE! Great thread. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, isn't it refreshing to look back at the "old us" and see how much happier life is when we let go of the FOG?
I love this paragraph you wrote: "I look at still-in JW's and see how depressed they are. They're looking forward to the "new system" but they don't know they could have that joy and fellowship with their fellowman now. They just have to do it and work towards it."
How very true!
I find it humorous to read the scripture attributed to Jesus "come to me and you will find refreshment for your souls"
Th REAL refreshment comes from genuinely living a life of interaction with our community...and not thinking we are somehow superior to them all, and that they deserve to be killed in a genocidal Armageddon