Episode 3 of "This JW Life" is now available.....
Thanks so much for sharing your story @dubstepped. I have a similar story of the bags of food. My mother dipped in and out of being JW throughout my childhood. I now feel she used the witnesses, in that as long as she was studying the bible they would help us. Anyway we never had much money, often no money for the electric meter etc, you can imagine. So one time this Witness lady my mother was studying with left some bags of food on the doorstep. My mother went ballistic, she was furious, how dare this women embarrass her by leaving us food. Needless to say some of the food hit the walls and the rest went in the bin. How my 9 year old heart broke, we truly needed that food. Anyway my mother then gave the JW lady "what for" when she next came around and my mother didn't study again for a few years. I always wanted to thank this lady for trying to helping us.
My mother actually got baptised about 8 years ago, but then faded in and out, blaming her health. She's now having a study again but says she's no interest in Armageddon. She doesn't want to live forever, she says before the JW arrive for the study she curses the Holy Spirit, because she believes that anyone who curses the Holy Spirit won't survive Armageddon. She says she only studies because she enjoys the company, having a cuppa and the conversation.
Anyway I wish I'd of found this site sooner.
Its certainly a bonkers world of JW, it's so bizarre you couldn't make it up. !
You're truly very brave for sharing your story. It touches me how much respect you still show your parents. You're so careful not to slag them off and degrade them, which you've every right to do. But I can understand why you don't. It's so hard coming from a background of emotional abuse. What you're doing to help others is just something to be so proud of.
@ Libby - Oh wow, your mom certainly had a different reaction to the food than we did. WTF? That is crazy. Being upset that someone embarrassed you by giving you food is the height of ego. You must have had a rough childhood too. I'm so sorry.
One day in my journey of waking up I looked around the Kingdom Hall and asked myself, are these God's chosen people? Are these people capable of making good decisions in life? Good grief, so many around had lives that were an absolute disaster outside of the KH. These weren't people known for making good decisions. The same went for my own family. They were not good at life, relationships, etc. Why would these people have stumbled upon "The Truth" when they lived lives that were such lies and so crazy? It didn't add up.
I'd love to rip my parents in ways, but I have to temper that with the knowledge that they had good intentions. They weren't nefarious, were likely doing the best that they could with the tools that they had and truly believed they were doing the right thing. I can't fault someone for that completely. I do have resentment and anger, as I am human. However, I too did a lot of dumb things because of the cult and treated people badly, and I would want people to give me the dignity of realizing that I was caught up in something bigger than me and not quite myself, wrapped up and driven by a cult ego. Of course, I was humble enough to look for real truth and my life has flourished because of that. Anyway, that's kind of the reason that I don't simply "slag them off" (I like that term), even though I do feel that way deep inside. I'm trying to be better than what I was raised to be and not let base emotion define my reactions as much as I can. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not for them, and I'm trying my best at that.
Hi Dubstepped thanks for your support, its much appreciated.
Take care WGO.
I've been reading through your posts on here as I was interested to know what led you to leave the JW (I was impatient to wait for your next podcasts). I certainly agree with others that you should write a book, or at least copy your posts from here onto your blog. I particularly loved the story of your wife's first birthday party.
Your posts on here have certainly added to my strength in knowing that I am doing the right thing by walking away from my bible study.
Funny I didn't want to be a witness because of the way my mother had used them, because of the way we'd be going to the meetings one minute and not the next. One year we'd celebrate Christmas the next we wouldn't, then the next we would and then we wouldn't etc. I didn't think Jehovah would want me or that I was worthy. I finally plucked up the courage to have a study and was told God would accept me. I'd put these people on a pedestal, the only ones serving God correctly, the only ones reading the bible and making a stand. From the outside their life's looked perfect, how could anyone deny they weren't blessed!
I'm so glad I found JW-facts.com, that was the start to me realising that everything the JW say is a complete crock of poo.
It's really helpful to know that you and others like you were frightened too. I'm still terrified of Armageddon, I still wonder now what my purpose in life is.
But reading your posts just makes me 100% that whatever the answers to life questions are, the JW don't have those answers. And they certainly aren't the happy loving "family" they want people to think.
Thanks so much for doing this. I don't know you but your posts and podcasts show that You're obviously a very compassionate person, that really comes through in your reply to my post too. You fight to put your own anger and hurt aside, to have compassion and put yourself in their shoes. You say that you did things that you're not proud of as part of the JW doctrine, which shows you take responsibility for actions. I really hope your family (& your wife's family) see what their missing out on. They could certainly learn a thing or two from you both.
Thanks again for helping people like me on our journey.
Ps I still think you have every right to slag them off (I'm glad you like it 😉). No one would blame you if you had a massive rant one day and let out what's deep inside you. After all, the people who were responsible for you chose to blindly follow and not question, it was their job to protect you.
Hi Dubstepped - I listened to the third episode you posted and I'm so sorry you had to endure all that. That must really have been difficult. I'm embarrassed to admit that growing up as a JW I often looked at the elders families with a little envy because they seem to be so exemplary and happy. I can see from your story that appearances can be deceiving. Once I was a teenager, I realized that being an Elder's child was the WORST fate possible. If just being a regular JW was bad, being the elder's kids put 100 times more pressure on you to be perfect. It just goes to show that you might think you have it bad but there's always someone who has it worse.
I think there is a big spectrum in the hall of JW's - looks like your family was definitely on the more fanatical side.
mentalclarity - I think there is a big spectrum in the hall of JW's - looks like your family was definitely on the more fanatical side.
I've joked before that my family were JW extremists, and they kind of were, but lots of them were. In any fundamentalist type religion you seem to get a higher concentration of extremes. There were certainly congregations that had different personalities, so to speak. Most that I ever went to were quite fanatical. It can also be a regional thing, and I grew up in the "Bible Belt" of the United States where people tend to be more extreme.
Like you said, and I think I even said on one of the episodes, it is kind of a spectrum. In the end though, at both ends of that spectrum is crazy. Whether fanatical crazy or just your everyday run of the mill crazy, it's all crazy.
@Libby - I think it's really cool that you went back through my posts on here and my journey out. Yes, my wife's first birthday party was so much fun. It's about that time again, though this year will be more subdued. We can't do a big blowout every year.
As you get farther away from the cult the fear of Armageddon will fade. At first I felt a lot of "but what if they're right", but hanging around a place like this reinforces how wrong they are and keeps you from backsliding into the brainwashing.
As far as purpose in life, life has the meaning that you give it. Think about it. JWs gave it a certain meaning and you and I bought that. If we were in India the Hindus might give it a totally different meaning and we likely would have bought that. So instead of getting your purpose from your culture or religion or other influences, you now have the ability to decide for yourself what that purpose is to be. I look around me at the plants and animals and they all have a purpose on this earth even if it isn't some eternal purpose. Sometimes they're food for another creature, sometimes they help some other creature grow, etc.
What is my purpose? I don't think it's clearly defined, but I can't go wrong with try to do no harm, help others, and be the best version of myself that I can be. If I've done that, at the end of my life when I look back, I'll be satisfied. Will I struggle with the thought of death? Maybe. I do struggle with that quite a bit. Okay, a lot. But I also know that's just because JWs put the idea of permanence in my head. Buddhists believe in impermanence and teach that as a concept. Had I been raised with that, I'd have no problem. Let's face it, everything around us points to a cycle of life and death. Whether it's the seasonal patterns from Spring to Winter or life on the plains of Africa for the animals that wander, death is as much a part of life as anything. Life goes on though. Life is quite the indomitable force. Will my life or your life go on after death in some other realm? Nobody knows. If there is some sort of loving creator that gives us an afterlife, then my life plan of doing no harm and trying to be the best version of myself and helping others surely will be enough. If there isn't, then I'll have lived a good life and mattered to the people I've come in contact with, and that's more than a lot of people get out of life.
Really enjoying your podcasts mate!
Thanks for sharing!
Listened to all 3 this week at work.
Very well presrnted and articulate.
I always enjoy such stories as they always ring true with my own experiences. Will be looking forward to more of your episodes.