Wanting Less Involvement (long newbie story)

by DepthsResounding 33 Replies latest jw experiences

  • DepthsResounding

    I was raised a JW and am currently pioneer in a foreign language congregation. I have been unhappy on and off with my involvement in this religion and am ready to step back again. Growing up I was always active but extremely reserved and a low hour publisher. I went to college instead of the pioneer-out-of-high-school route, but I was generally a "good girl". I feel kind of stunted in life because of unnecessarily avoiding so many things... Anyhow, I started getting more involved a few years ago, and at first it was great. I felt all these "blessings" and people are so encouraging at first...until they start resenting you & trying to get more control over you. I realized that my blessings were really more about more general spiritual practices that many religions teach, such as prayer and meditation, not conforming to an organization.

    The things which irk me seem petty (i.e. nitpicking my dress all the time), but really are symptomatic of bigger things, such as the demand for high conformity. I've always noted the plethora of logical fallacies & massive inconsistencies in the articles, since I was a child. I have also made excuses for it though, and sort of privately held my own notions that allowed me to reconcile it all. Like, I take the Bible to be poetic, emotional language, not literal history. I have questioned if Paul's writings are to be followed as God's word or if they aren't more like the modern literature (ie opinions of people interpreting God's word)...he seems to diverge from Jesus.

    Anyhow, like many, most of my family and all of my friends are witnesses. These individuals are all wonderful people, but many are very unhappy because they are trapped and unable to better their lives because of this organization. It's the high control factor, arbitrary policies, discouragement of critical thinking, increasingly disturbing adulation of the "GB", and inconsistent reasoning that turn me off. Of course I fear being DFed if I were to make a loud exit, but I don't think that will happen if I just back off slowly. A this point, I am not sure I want a total exit (more on that later).

    I don't fear Armageddon or death, and frankly, if there is an Armageddon, I don't believe in a cruel God who will kill off anyone who is not a JW. I'm more of a reward motivated person and so the idea of not living forever is sad to me. Even if I know it sounds ridiculous....I suppose I have trouble letting it go because I lost much of my youth to this organization. Everything I wanted, I sacrificed because I had the idea that in the paradise, there would be time for everything and I would be young again (forever!). Of course the resurrection "hope" has its appeal too. The idealistic part of me wants a world that is united, peaceful and free of illness and death, and I don't have faith in humanity... I have seen the GB vision of paradise and it disturbed me. It sounds like a worldwide Bethel...ugh!

    Sometimes I think I used this religion as an excuse to fail. Like, I didn't go to the exact college I wanted and get a degree in exactly what I wanted, and so now I don't have to face that I might have failed. My mediocrity was just me placing "spiritual things" first. I can fall back on it as an excuse as to why I am still single in my 30s & never date - well, there are few single brothers and I've been trained "since infancy" to never flirt (i.e. repel worldly men with a "bitch shield").

    So I have a relative who "fell out of the truth" when she was young, and because she was never DFed, the family still talks to her. She is very bitter, and that is something I don't want. She married an inactive brother, and it seems they faded out together.

    I am basically thinking of something similar....marrying someone very "weak". One of my biggest sources of unhappiness is the forced celibacy of being single because of the lack of single men in this organization (and so many of the single ones past 30 are...well....weird). Someone who is inactive is also going to understand me more than someone who was never a JW. And they may not pressure me to do anything I am not ready for or simply don't want to do.

    I met someone online from another country, and I can tell he is "weak" and inactive (perhaps only attending the memorial), although he is vague about it because he knows I pioneer. He definitely believes, particularly in the resurrection & in Jehovah as God (which I may still believe; or in a personal God), but there is a similar attitude of being more focused on having Christian qualities (i.e. teachings of Jesus) and less stuck on arbitrary organizational protocol. He wishes worldly friends and relative "happy birthday" on social media, and I have good reason to think he has dated worldly women not too long ago, so I know he is not involved much. It's jumping ahead at this point, but the idea of marrying someone far away who is inactive and moving to their country seems a good way to avoid meddling from people who wonder why I am doing less. It would be hard for old acquaintances here to verify much about his status. The people there wouldn't know me and probably would write me off as weak after seeing I married someone weak. It's probably just a fantasy of running away, but it is an idea that occurred to me after I met this person.

    My family is fairly open-minded (ie my dad maintained contact for years with a DFed friend; my sister is already inactive & dating someone worldly & my mom just shrugs her shoulders) and probably wouldn't care so long as he has official status of "baptized brother". I do worry about disappointing them, as they are so proud of me right now. However, I know my mom is really frustrated that I still live at home (due to pioneering & only working part-time) and am not married. I won't go into my other possible exit strategy, as I want to stay anonymous, but it is more gradual.

    Thanks for reading this...not sure what I am looking for - perhaps just some listening ears.

  • Chook

    It's only a choice you can make as to what pasture you feed at , but our friends on here got heartburn from the spiritual food dished out by GB. With time you will see the light , we all wish you well.

  • Finkelstein

    One thing that I think a lot of JWS are starting to personally resolve is that many of the doctrines of this religion just aren't strongly backed and might very well be identified as expressions of false prophesy, the consequences of having a publishing house operating at the core of the religion I guess.

    Its known that the JWS does not have a high retention rate among its followers and there are many reasons for that to be.

  • thebrokenkite

    From one newbie to another: welcome. I empathize with many of your sentiments, having been disfellowshipped one year ago this month, and deciding not to return about 6 months ago. It took 6 months of hesitation and a complete reading of Crisis of Conscience for me to jump off the terrifying "diving board" before me, especially considering my entire life would be gone like that. Good luck on your journey, wherever it takes you.

  • dubstepped

    Welcome! I read, so you have at least these listening ears, among others above. I think that marrying an inactive brother is a horrible idea. Don't get married to someone that you don't truly love. Don't settle once again because of this organization. You'll likely regret it.

    At some point you need to get out. You may not feel that quite as strongly right now because you've got one foot in or maybe even both. You're leaning out, but you're still in if you're pioneering quite extensively. A trend that I've noticed is that many that leave have some period of time where they get away from the conditioning and indoctrination. For my wife and I it was a period of time where we had to devote ourselves to paying off a massive tax debt. During that time away it is like our brains finally started digesting everything we were taught and we started waking up. You're already awakening, so it may be even quicker and more profound for you if you had some time away from it.

    Ultimately, you can't live your life for other people and be happy. You simply cannot. You have to figure out who you are authentically and be that. When you do there will be a happiness that is immeasurable. That freedom is worth anything. We lost our families and everyone we knew in the religion. We disassociated. You don't have to do that. You could fade. Lots of people get depressed or develop some disease that doesn't have sure signs and then they no longer can do what they once did. To me, fading is a long road fraught with peril and playing their games, but it can be done successfully. It's all dependent on what you want to keep when you leave. We were willing to stop playing the game altogether and lose everyone. You have to make those decisions for yourself. Just don't attach yourself to someone else in the organization for the purpose of getting out. It's not fair to you, or to them.

    I'm sorry you find yourself in this position. Others here have been in similar ones. You can do this and find your way out. If you can get time away, your feelings will change toward the religion too. You will get clarity.

  • DepthsResounding

    ^ Thanks for the concern. I wouldn't marry someone I didn't love just to get out. I certainly agree that wouldn't be fair. I don't know if totally "out" is what I want yet. I suppose that's hard to understand if you are "out", but I know a lot of inactive/weak people who are pretty happy because they kind of just treat the religion like "worldly" people treat church. They show up to a Sunday here & there & the Memorial once a year, and besides that, they live their lives. That's what this man I am talking to is already doing....and I am talking to him because I genuinely really like him. I suspect he wants to date/marry a "sister" for similar reasons to mine - there's a mutual sympathy over our backgrounds, the families stay happy, etc. It's all very new, so that's just an option I am entertaining.

  • dubstepped

    I get what you're trying to do. Just remember, if you were to marry such a man and at some point you want out of the religion entirely, it could cause stress between you two. You might want to get settled on where you end up, not where you want to be. I wanted to be in too and fading. Sometimes you don't get to pick where you end up in this. My eyes continued to be opened as I got away from the indoctrination. I eventually figured I'd be an independent Christian. Then I started digging into the Bible itself. I'm now basically an atheist. If you truly search for truth, you don't know where it might lead you.

    I'm not trying to discourage the relationship though. If you truly find love go for it. It just sounds convenient with the fact that you could leave and avoid questioning too. It would be real easy to mistake love for just about any male attention or anything that might ease such a precarious position.

  • EmptyInside

    Welcome,and thank you for sharing your story. I can totally relate,although,I didn't go to college,which I regret not doing.

    It is good to have an exit plan. You may not want to leave entirely,and that is up to you. I still go every once in awhile. But,this organization,tends to stunt one's growth and inhibit our ability to reach our full potential,just something to keep in mind.

  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut

    Welcome DR...thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    I don't have a lot of time at the moment but in a nutshell I'll say this.

    Like the rest of us, you have altered every major area of your life because of your affiliation with the JW's. From this point on, do things the way YOU want to do them and not because you are trying to correct other decisions that were altered by the JW's. It's called damage control.

    You don't want to end up with a life full of hodge-podge results because of neither being one thing or the other. Figure out what you really want and set a plan in place to get there. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and have articulated your story briefly and succinctly. I have a the feeling you're only a few well placed steps toward being where you want to be.

  • DepthsResounding

    Regarding dating.... years ago when I was "weaker", I tried online dating. I've seen many sisters over the years marry "out of the truth", and I began to understand why. At first I tried dating non-religious people, thinking it would be easier - nope. I encountered condescension, to say the least. Then I tried "believers" of different brands of Christianity, thinking they might respect some of my choices (ie the virginity thing) - nope. Instead, they wanted to debate, convert, or they were even weirder than me. Generally non-JW men are (rather understandably) weirded out once they find out you're a JW. They also will not be understanding about waiting for sex or why you have no experience. They won't understand my family or my life history. Having dipped my toe in the pool of dating "worldly" men, I realized it presented a lot of difficult obstacles. It honestly felt humiliating. I felt as judged as I do by the self-righteous people in the congregation....

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