Walking a thin line - Resigning Elder

by Sanchy 106 Replies latest jw friends

  • John Free
    John Free

    Hello Sanchy,

    Enjoyed reading your post and I think you've handled matters very well so far. I, like you purely left over doctrine, and was also suppressing doubts for years that were too important to ignore. I can also say that I didn't dislike anyone in my Cong, and don't blame individuals in the org- its just a monster that's evolved into being. Well done on finding the courage to be true to yourself.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Five or so hours in and we are at a 4th page. I will answer before I read other answers, as I may never catch up otherwise.

    I was serving as an elder longer than you, but found it relatively easy, family-wise, to walk away in my case, so I will say things from that perspective and try to empathize with a different situation that you are in.

    For years, I had questions bugging me. Like you I put them aside with the typical "I'll receive my answer one day". But they only grew and more problems with the religion came up. I eventually caved in and simply googled "Jehovah's Witnesses" and went everywhere the links took me. But to be fair, I took years and years to get to that point. You are way ahead of me if you are an elder 4 years.

    I could not stay in the congregation and try to encourage my wife out. I did quite a bit of that, and didn't get too far. I had to be free of it myself, for my personal sanity and mental health. She's still a faithful JW, but not as hardcore as I would have thought. So I have that.

    While it wouldn't have worked for me, some stayed active JW's, at least in appearance, and helped their loved ones out with studying and questioning. It can be done. No apostate literature is needed, but it is helpful to prepare yourself with it, then just use Watchtower literature to help your wife.

    Congratulations on your resignation as an elder. This is a huge step. I did the "doubt" thing myself, similar to your summary.

    While it's tough that your entire family is in the org., you can start to have friends on the outside. I hate the slight double-life thing but I don't have too much choice. My best friends are from this forum and other ex-JW's. So they are not my wife's friends.

    Your wife said that if you leave the religion, she will teach it to them. I would tend to believe her. She also said you've made her life so much more difficult now. Don't let her hang that on you, it isn't true. I get that and it's hard to release, but the comeback is that each person must take their own spiritual journey and find their own path. I wish there was an easy answer here, but there isn't. The easiest thing to do for a short peace is to let her be, but as you love her so much, you want to help her to think for herself and use her freedoms.

    Isn't it a joke that "the branch" has to approve your resignation? They did that to me, too. I didn't want to make waves, so I said "Do what you want, but I am done- approval or not." I quit in August and they didn't get an answer until October and I didn't tell anyone in the congregation that I wasn't an elder, except my wife. But I sat during meetings without responsibilities, I wore a red sweater instead of a suit jacket, kind of signifying that I wasn't even available to do any assignments. I commented a little bit to say that I wasn't "in trouble."

    The main thing about removing yourself from responsibility is to retain relations with your family, so good job. Don't worry so much about the friends. Heck, I lost my absolute best friend over this matter of "fading."

    If your situation persists for years, as is highly likely, you can get help from others here who have had children caught in the middle. I wish you well. Oh, and your reading wasn't terribly long at all. Thanks for sharing another "Waking up" story.

  • atomant
    Mate l really feel for you and your situation.lts very sad.lt seems to me that your probably not strong enough emotionally atm to cope with leaving the cult as it will have dire consequences.Slowly does it is the way to go and over time your wife might come to the party.l know of many brothers in your predicament and they simply just go along with the flow to keep the peace.Time has a way of sorting out these situations and you have to decide whats best for you and your family and you alone.lm not baptized and never have been but was raised in the truth and l do believe in god.Regardless of what denomination of religion we belong to as long as you have a good heart and act according to the ways the bible teaches we all stand a shot of being a part of gods future promises.Good luck.
  • Magnum

    patkim: When I first uncovered the real truth about my own religion, I asked myself where do I go now? I answered that question by telling God, if he is real and I am wrong to please help me see it. All it did was open my eyes even further to the terrible realization that my own religion was a complete lie based on rules of men and empty interpretations that constantly need adjustments because they are NOT from God.

    I can relate to that. When I was really beginning to think somthing was wrong in JWdom, I stopped at a certain interstate rest area on the way from work late at night. I walked into a field, looked up at the stars and begged for guidance in determining whether JWs were what they claimed to be, etc. I did this many, many times, sometimes on my knees.

    During this process, it was like scales fell off my eyes and I began to see the org for what it really is.

  • Bonsai

    Our stories are so similar Sanchy. I remember trying to gently reason with my wife only for things to morph into an emotional argument right in front of our toddler. If I could give one piece of advice for now, it's this:

    Your wife is pregnant. She's already under tremendous stress, discomfort and her emotions are likely to be flying all over the place. You need to focus on having that baby safely. It's not a good time to put your wife under any unnecessary stress or anxiety right now. After the baby has been born and she has recovered then you can continue to ask questions and shape her towards a future marriage life that isn't controlled by the capricious edicts of an American sect.

    Congratulations on a soon to be new member of your family and thanks for sharing your story!.

    P.S. Tim Drake 1914's advice on page 1 is pure gold!

  • Crazyguy
    My advise is stay in for your family and friends. Use family worship night to teach all the things the Borg doesn't teach concerning Jesus, love, not judging, love and more love. Teach your kids all of Jesus so called commandments. I'm no longer a believer in the Bible but still think this is the best way to wake up your wife and gets your children out. Planting seeds and asking questions too but one has to be careful not to push to much. While doing this make friends with non witnesses. Make a 10-15 year goal to have your wife and kids out. I did the exact opposite and ran as soon as I new it was all a lie. They marginalize you when you do this and say and do things to alienate you from your family so I have a big up hill battle. Unfortunately I do not have any advise on how to get through the meeting when you know it's all BS , I couldn't do it. Maybe smoking some pot before hand, good luck and welcome.
  • EyesOpenHeartBroken

    Hi Sanchy and welcome!

    May I offer a woman's perspective? Your wife has a lot on her mind with a toddler and new baby almost here. Between you stepping down, expressing your doubts, a pregnancy, and a young child to care for her stress level is probably high and her energy/ability to deal low. Do your best to support and love her and throw yourself into fatherhood, now you will have the time to do that since you're not wasting so much time on being an elder. What you do and how you treat her will go farther than poking holes in doctrine. Many JWs in the younger generations (I'm 40) seem not to be concerned with doctrine, it's about family, social, and hierarchy. But if you do talk about something--go SLOW!

    I was aware of the 607/1914 error for 20 years before it bothered me. I was aware of child abuse issues before I had my babies and it bothered me, but not enough to leave JWs. Once I had my children, I could not stop thinking about it. One day hubby and looked on the jw.org site news section and the Candace Conti verdict was posted! The next day we returned to the site to show my mom and it had been removed! What? So then I scoured the Internet to find more about the case and Pandora's box was open. From reading the all the media and court case info I could find it was beyond clear that the WT does not care about damage done to children from abuse nor do they protect children, or even do the right thing after the fact by reporting to authorities.

    You are in a unique position to share some insight with your wife, since you were an elder with the inside scoop on how child abuse is handled. You can let her know you couldn't in good conscience administer or back up WT policies on child abuse. And you don't have to show her anything apostate. There seem to be news articles every couple weeks about some JW perv.

    Again, I would stress not to make big issues right now. Just take a deep breath, love your wife, and your sweet babies.

    Wishing you all the best with your family!


  • blondie
    I would not just concentrate in investigating doctrine but also how the WTS treats its members and directs the elders...the love Jesus said was the mark of a true Christian not just words...actions speak louder than words.
  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    Sanchy - welcome and look forward to your contributions. As many others have said, you are not alone! Your story sounds similar to mine and many others here.

    It took me much longer to step down and you've probably saved yourself some sleepless nights, although with a new baby on the way, you'll be getting plenty of those!!

    Just don't make any drastic decisions and if you decide to fade, DON'T mention doubts anymore. The stress of taking care of a young family should be enough to get them off your back.

    I feel one of the biggest advantages of this site is that it allows people to vent in a way they really can't do with people they know!

  • burnedout

    Hi Sanchy, your story and mine are similar. Even the part about FL, I am from SWFL.

    I was an MS for ten years and then an Elder for the next ten... I was ready to kill myself even though I had two little kids. I was also killing myself slowly with alcohol. I ended up having a breakdown at the KH right before I was to start the meeting.

    My wife has been supportive of my mental health now, and we very rarely discuss 'spiritual' things. I am happy, calm, sober and love my family more than anything...

    I wish you the best, show lots of love to your family, be a great husband and Dad!

Share this