Wanting Less Involvement (long newbie story)

by DepthsResounding 33 Replies latest jw experiences

  • GrreatTeacher

    Yup, that's where the religion puts you: all alone. It's deliberate; people who don't have the skillset (by design) to make it in the world will run right back to the organization, where they might also feel alone and unable to share their true selves without fear of ostracism.

    Look, I understand wanting to get married, wanting a relationship. But, what would you be bringing to it? You're working part-time and still living at home. People are looking for others who will pull their weight in a relationship. Those who have careers are attractive. Those who can take care of themselves independently are attractive.

    My first advice would be to get a "real" job, one with benefits and enough income so you can begin supporting yourself. This will build self-esteem and help you "find" yourself. You seem lost, as if you don't really know who you are, and, therefore, what you want. This is normally a task started in adolescence and finished by the early twenties or so.

    It's no accident that JWs are stuck at that stage. Every part of life has a pre-formed set of ideas/ rules surrounding it: marriage, family, career, time-management, beliefs. If you don't think too hard about it, you might actually believe that those are your personal opinions, too. But, when you do think hard on it, you realize that you really don't know what your personal opinions are because you've never had to think about it. You wouldn't recognize a personal opinion if hit you on the head!

    So, to begin to get to know yourself, you have to give the gift of time to yourself. Time to do things that will help you find you. Most people do this through career to begin with. Then, once you're a confident person, confident in yourself, you attract other people. Self-support is critical. Every person needs the dignity that comes from knowing that you can take care of yourself and your needs no matter what happens.

    I think that's where you need to start.

  • DepthsResounding

    Er, that's the kind of condescension I'm talking about.

    I have a real job. I have a college education and a professional job, albeit it's part-time. Before I started pioneering, I worked full-time and lived on my own in my own apartment and was totally financially independent.

  • notalone

    Dear Depths, you sound very thoughtful and you seem to understand not just yourself but also your family and what is important to you, but I would like to add- right now. You are in a place of flux. Don't add any more life altering decisions. Leaving a cult is enough. One thing I have learned is that the org really undermines a woman's self-worth. It makes you feel responsible for the behavior of those around you, especially a husband. Jehovah's witness husbands who have bought into the whole 'men are the head' thing will under stress revert to JW behavior, and JW women raised in the religion are conditioned to certain responses. This man you are talking to is not forthcoming now. Red Flag. He is showing you who he is. You are a strong woman. You went to college while a witness.You speak more than one language. You have held beliefs that are your own in a cult. You are on this site. Don't sell yourself short with a mate.

  • steve2

    Great OP - DepthsResounding is a fitting avatar.

    Beware of even thinking of hitching up with a "weaker" or inactive brother. Tables can be turned once you're married and that spiritually weak spouse can become strong - and now your lumbered with one hell of a problem. I've recently been in contact with an inactive Witness who married an inactive brother and within months he's accepted a Bible study with the local JWs and is attending meetings. Yikes! Not what the lady wanted!

    Sounds like you see through the JW message and that were it not for your family, you'd have cut your ties long before now.

    This forum is unbeatable in terms of helping posters clarify their thinking and helping them identify exactly how JW organization manipulates human emotions to keep people captive.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Hi DepthsResounding, welcome to the site and thanks for posting your interesting situation.

    Yes it seems that a new dimension is forming in the JW Org which is not unlike that of the church believer where the JW enjoys the socializing but cares little for doctrine. Of course the governing will body fight tooth and nail to oppose this evolutionary development because they need total control to sustain their power-base and a mere loose affiliation of members would deny them that.

    By the way, I also had similar apologetics for the WT when I was a believer, with the Bible to be read as aspiration not taken literally. I didn't believe in a real devil for example, I read him as an embodiment of opposition or in the cases of exorcism; mental illness. With your insight into these things already, I don't imagine a person can in good conscience last long as a JW!

    I agree with the posters above who would not in favour marriage at this stage and certainly not as a mechanism to escape the mind/life control of the organisation. The best way to resolve an issue is not to mix it up with other concerns.

    So may I suggest that to get your life in order you determine what you most want and in what sequence you need to do things to achieve it. Surely the first thing is to remove yourself from obligations to the (grossly undeserved) authority of the GB? To do this it is vital to reduce your commitments. Pioneering surely is the first pin to fall then cool down on meetings and preaching--do you really believe in your heart that the JW dream is real? If you slowly fade and avoid saying you no longer believe in the GB, you should be able to come away without punishment. No one deserves being ostracised for holding beliefs in the 21st century!

    In the meantime, find sympathetic friends who are not JWs, this is a very important stage in acclimatizing to the real world.

    I hope I don't sound too preachy but I have been in your shoes and also have a daughter about your age still trapped, single and not flourishing.

  • wheelwithinwheel

    The big problem with JW.Org is the amount of control exerted on its member’s lives. That’s why it’s classified by many as a cult. But let’s be frank, much of the control is self-inflicted. Is anyone obligated to pioneer or go out carting?

    Can a JW go to university, get a PhD, find a high paying job, marry a worldly person, buy a big house and lots of toys, drink and go on numerous, long vacations? The answer is many elders could fit a good part of that description.

    Think of this year’s convention videos. Does the sister who loves to paint have to forego a good part of her ‘painting day’ to accompany another sister on a call? She could actually be “inactive” and paint for a week straight if she wanted to, and still be part of the JW club. It’s her JW.Org cult- mind that obliges her to believe she needs to cancel part of her day to accompany that sister. Is Gloria obligated to quit her job? Does Ricky have to shave off his beard? Should Tina get her hair back to being theocratic? Who’s making Joe and Gloria stand on the street with a cart?

    I’ve always observed that JWs living on the edge seemed to be the most fulfilled in life. The sister with the non-JW husband who didn’t pioneer, lived her life and used her husband as her excuse seemed the most happy. The more devoted always appeared to be slugging through life, somewhat overwhelmed.

    If you are OK living with frowns, I think it’s possible to live on the edge. It’s possible to still be part of the club quite happily, unless you really want to exercise a disfellowshipping freedom….in which case you might have to sacrifice one ‘happiness’ for another. But hey, that’s life. That’s freedom. Decisions. Choices. Your choices not a cult’s.

    My advice: Stop worrying about status and what others think about you and begin by taking back some control of your life. Stop that ridiculous pioneering. You’ll feel a weight lifting off your shoulders. Did I say stop thinking about what others think of you? Repeat to yourself, “I don’t care what they think”. Take back more control and get full time work. Get your own place. You’re 30, almost at the ½ point of your life. Next, decide who you want to date and if you want to get married. He doesn’t have to be a JW. Stop being a wuss. You need to do more than dip a toe. The world is full of great people. The “world is so bad” is a JW.Org fallacy…a controlling cult falsehood. If you decide you want to be married, be extremely careful that you are compatible. A mistake can really mess up your life.

    You can be happier. Good Luck!

    ...And the weak ‘brother’ from another country? Experience has taught me it’s always good to look for someone ‘genuine’. Hope you get my drift.

  • The Searcher
    The Searcher

    DepthsResounding - welcome. I hope that some of the advice offered to you is helpful when you decide exactly what route you are going to take.

    One of the biggest issues which a person like yourself will have to consider (IMHO) is finding a like-minded partner - someone whose beliefs/practices/standards in life are not going to be seriously objectionable to you.

    For fading/ex-JW's who "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," making the wrong choice could result in a lot of upset for both parties. Best wishes for your future.

  • flipper

    DEPTHS RESOUNDING- Hey, welcome to the forum ! I know how you feel as I was raised inside the Jehovah's Witness religion from birth and didn't stop attending fully until age 44 back in 2003. The pressure and high control the organization puts on us DOES make us feel like running away- so I totally get that.

    We are here as a support for you so keep opening up about your experience you are going through and many of us here who have been where you are at will be more than willing to share experiences we have had in either fading away from meetings and how to handle JW family members still in. It is a challenge. Just be cautious about talking openly about your doubts with active JW family members or others in your congregation or other fellow JW friends you have will use your doubts against you by talking to elders about it- and since you are still living with your parents- they could make your life more difficult than it is already. Keep your counsel to yourself.

    Please - if you have any questions at all - or are curious how we exited gracefully by staying off the radar- please feel free to ask anybody here how they accomplished it. And continue to educate yourself by researching the Internet about the power of mind control in high control religious organizations. Steve Hassan has some good books about tactics religions use to control members. And by researching the Internet you will prove to yourself that there isn't much difference in the Jehovah's Witnesses from other apocalyptic religions that have put forth false hopes to it's members - and delivers nothing in return except disappointment.

    One thing about it- you are young. In your 30's you have the rest of your life to pursue lots of interests and hobbies or pursuits , even college, that will help you in this REAL life we live. This may be all we get 80 years or so- make the best use of those years in a positive way while you have life flowing through your body ! these last 13 years I've been away from the Witnesses have been the most fulfilling, happy years of my life ! Take care friend, and we are with you here as a support all the way ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • Skepsis

    Hi DR,

    I started reading your OP and notice my story is quite similar: pioneer, have gone to college, serving in a foreign language congregation... I am also a MS for the moment.

    I think you could do it step by step. First of all, quitting pioneering was of great help for me as I had suddenly plenty of time to think, dedicate to my career and do non-JWs things.

    Then, I stopped doing the trolleys and started missing some meetings now and then.

    Now I'm at that point. At first, I have to tell you that you'll disappoint brothers when you stop being a spiritual pillar of the congregation but it's a matter of time (less than you think) until they come to terms with it.

    I'm planning to move to another "normal" congregation after summer as you'll know it's hard to fade in this kind of zealous congregations filled with pioneers and zealous witnesses.

    Hope all will be fine in your fine. Just try not speak too much because elders and others will try to ask about your reasons and motivations. Don't explain just tell them you need time or are busy and you don't have circumstances to keep serving at that pace.

  • FadeToBlack

    Is it possible with your education and work experience to get a job transfer or just relocate and then just disappear?

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