Hi David Jay,
I've re-read your posts on this thread several times - I felt like someone had put into words the very things I am working through....and beautifully written too, thank you!
Like you, I would have been considered 'bright' - had a reputation amongst friends for being 'quirky' with a tendency to live to the beat of my own drum.
I was 'loveable' to some lovely friends, on a one to one basis I developed loving, long lasting relationships - but I was not the sort that 'easily fitted in' to the big crowd social scene. I was a one to one person.....
My quirky idealism found fertile soil when I met some JWs informally - and like you, I quickly declared 'this has the ring of truth'.
I loved studying, pouring over scripture and making the 'truth' my own.
As we all know, the truth is that the truth was never 'my own' but someone else's - and was subject to change at a whim. So after hours upon hours, years upon years of self indoctrination, plying awkward scripture to make it fit 'new light' - my inner light, my inner gut was really struggling, if that makes sense.
After years of loving the 'food' - I'd read publications and felt spiritually and intellectually impoverished, literally.
I turned to the writings of great poets and writers, I felt rest and peace in sharing their thoughts, I felt I saw 'the image of God' in the entire human race with a new clarity.
What I mean is that, I started to 'humanise' and being amongst JWs, being carved into a corporate branded form of 'Christianity' felt painful.
i wouldn't say I'm 'thriving' post fading away from the JWs....at 60 years and a touch menopausal (lol) I'm fighting for a stronger will and more energy - it's been one hell of a journey! But wonderful life keeps rolling out and I'm trying to balance self- discovery and a strong desire to 'know myself' and face my less 'godly' aspects, whilst keeping perspective on why I was attracted to the strange cult like environment of JWs.
So 'showing your JW' was a phrase that got my attention.......cheers. A great read...and for me personally, immaculate timing!