My moment came one day about 1995. Something strange happened to me while I was in field service. I was going door to door in Tigard Oregon. I ring the door bell, like I have done thousands of times before. How many people have I talked to after forty years of “spreading the good news” who knows? This door was very different, at least the person behind it was. A pleasant looking blond haired man came to the door. He was in his late thirties and a slight smile on his face. I launched into my three minute sermon. He just stood there smiling. So I pulled out the “Watchtower and Awake” magazines and show him some stupid article about who knows what. After rambling on for minutes I finally asked him, what he thought. He stood there for a moment then he got a smile on his face and said. “I’m so grateful I don’t believe like you.” I stood there not knowing what to say. Then he said it again. “I’m so glad I don’t believe like you do.” I stood there with a strange look on my face and he said. “Wait here.” He turned and came back with a Watchtower in his hand. He also had with him what looked like his twelve year old son. Then he opened the watchtower up and read from it. “Your magazine says here. This is your magazine isn’t it?” I nodded yes. “It says here and I quote your magazine. ‘In view of the times we are living, it might be wise to not to have children because of the times we are living in.’ So, you see if I believed the same way you and your religion does, I would have never known the pleasure of my son here.” He put his hand on his sons head and smiled at us and said “Good bye.” I had nothing to say. He stepped back and shut his door. I thought to myself he was right.
That One Defining Moment That Changed Your Life.
The One Towel Rule at assemblies (that later metastasized to many local congregations) was the ultimate kick in the crotch for me.
Rub a Dub
1. When I was 7-8 and my parents bought a house right next to a JW family. You can guess where that went.
2. International Convention of 2014 in Indianapolis. We left early on the first day, my wife in tears, and felt such relief as we drove away from the hotel after retrieving our stuff to head home. We discussed on the way home how we just didn't fit and could never go back, and we didn't .
3. May of 2015 we drive to NYC to see my DFed brother and come home to be shunned by family .
4. September 2, 2015, our disassociation is officially announced and we start our new life.
When I accidentally came across a lecture which stated that evolution is a prominent and not "controversial" theory, with universal acceptance in the scientific community. As a then-faithful jw, I hadn't come across that fact until then, due to the control of information that everyone raised as jw is being imposed to.
I've always thought this religion was a bit off, but never questioned it really. However, for about 2 years I've been slowly getting less and less service time. How can I teach things I don't really fully believe myself?
One day, I asked myself, "why would such a high-ranking member of the Governing Body leave Bethel?"
I downloaded the Crisis book and related to almost 80% of it. It was amazing.
I tried to get my spouse enthused about it, but spouse is not interested in knowing TTATT.
I started researching more and more. I ask "is science really that inaccurate?" "Why do they say humans existed for 50,000 to 200,000 years or more, but the bible says 6,000?" So I research about the flood. And find out the flood is B.S. Complete B.S. I no longer believe the first 5 books of the bible and Job, since this is the stuff that Moses wrote. Well, Jesus talked about the flood in the bible. I dwell on that and have another waking moment. That must mean the entire bible is B.S. Or at least, the most of it.
So, now, here I am, I rely on what science has brought us. I question almost everything from the bible. I don't see anything meaningful in it.
And most of this is hidden from my spouse. Spouse probably knows, but won't ask me my thoughts anymore. It frightens spouse.
A gradual awakening:
My husband was disfellowshiped after a period of craziness that was probably due to a serious health condition. He died shortly thereafter. Even though he had helped build numerous kingdom halls and did many other good works, no brothers would or could give a funeral service. Even though he left behind several small children and me.
Being taken advantage of by brothers, who were M.S.s or Elders, who wanted to buy my mate's tools and equipment on time. Eventually they didn't want to keep paying the monthly amounts agreed upon. Being told by pompous P.O. to just forget it, probably because I was a mere sister. Can you imagine him telling a brother that? I couldn't. When I got smart and sold a large item through a want ad for full cash payment and no haggling or other craziness, the P.O. said, why didn't you tell me you were selling it?...I would have bought it. Yeah, right.
When my child and some elder's children got in trouble together, mine was scapegoated as the instigator. Then having to watch my child be excluded while the cohorts just got a finger wag, at a time when the thirteen year old needed emotional and social support the most.
Going back to school and learning some helpful facts and opening my mind to various points of view that I never heard before.
Being in a library and coming across a slim volume on Apocalyptic movements. Sitting down and reading the whole thing. It told of the Millerites and how they looked to Christ's coming. When it didn't come, they sat another date. When that didn't come, they said Jesus's coming or parousia was evidently invisible. Feeling something inside me explode like a mushroom cloud. You see, as a third generation witness, I had always believed in the "gradually revealed light" explanations of the Bible Students/JW group. That when Jesus didn't come in 1914 or thereabouts, the leaders were inspired to know that his coming was invisible and was indicative of future events. Amazed to realize they ripped this off from an earlier group. (If anyone knows of a specific WT article that spells this out, I would be glad to hear of it. I know references probably do exist that say God gave them this specific new light as evidence of his support.)
It's funny what things impress us. I know a lot of other former witnesses say it was the blood doctrine or the scandal about the U.N. or the child abuse scandal. All those things are important, but the thing that really helped me personally see the light(!) was that little fifth-grade level book on religion.
I have had other epiphanies over the years that freed me up and helped shape me into an agnostic. I do believe in divine love and light that guides us if we allow it to. I used to wonder why I was put in the family I was and indoctrinated into such a religion, then guided to leave it. Very strange life I've had.
I know this post has several negative aspects, but I am grateful for some things that came about by being raised a witness. I did know some kindly witnesses who gave me a lot of support in my youth and throughout my life when I needed it. Being a witness helped me to avoid getting addicted to smoking or drugs.... I feel somewhat appreciative of the discipline and bible knowledge I acquired that helped me in other studies.
When, while birthing our second daughter, my wife's placenta was not coming out (at a midwife-birth center, down the street from the hospital). Midwife mentioned she could be bleeding and need a blood transfusion (after transfer to hospital) in 30 minutes.
I sat there, helpless, and watched my wife tell the Midwife & RN "do all you can here, because I'm a JW and will not take blood, so they wont be able to do anything else at the hospital".
In that moment, I had a hard time believing that God wanted me to lose my wife, 2 daughters to be motherless, and her to miss them growing up. In that moment, I knew something was "up" with what we were taught. It just felt all wrong, spiritually & physically.
My defining moment...
...seeing the original Star Wars as a kid.
The day I saw that an appointment in Bethel was carried out after an expensive bottle of scotch was given as a gift to a branch committee member!
Yes, seriously.....bribery gets you a LONG way in bethel....
The day I allowed myself to simply ask "but WHY?" .....
It was almost like a 2 year old who keeps asking questions...I simply asked questions in my mind about all the things I was told were facts all my life...
Then, the house of cards just comes crashing down....
A great quote helped "Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored"