Why On Earth Did You Ever Become A Witness & What Made You Decide To Leave?
Minimus, I think we were of the same 'circle'. You 'know' what I'm talking about.
I'm amazed to see 75 some hits to my post. I think it's very hard for some because they have never truly done all they wanted to, or were pressured to do. So in the back of their mind their is feelings of guilt and "they were right" or they just feel like a luzer in the eyes of these 'men'. But that is all they are is men.
I wonder just how many lurkers are reading that post. To this day, NO ONE will approach me or ask me 'where have you been'. It seems they find the "lame publishers" easy targets. They prey on the weak. But they don't quite know what to say to someone who was a peer. I have made little or no comment to anyone about how I feel and what my reasons were. So they would have to approach me blind. I think part of the problem is they would have to accuse a man of respect with no justifiable cause. Of course this has never stopped them in the past. But for some reason, with my lack of 'christian activity' and meeting attendance I'm not easy to talk to. I don't really know why, and I don't really care. It's more of an intellectual exercise more than anything I think.
I was raised in "the truth."
Long story short:
My leaving was a combination of things...my father admitting he sexually abused me and the elders saying it was OK for him to remain an elder. Because of that, I started questioning everything (without really researching...just wondering). I got a divorce from my abusive husband, even though the elders said I shouldn't. They took no action against him when I told them he raped me, because there weren't "two witnesses." Duh. I then rebelled. Had a fling on the rebound. Then met my now-husband. My ex-husband started stalking me, and found things I had written online. Printed them out, showed them to family and apparently elders. They came over and asked me if I was having a sexual relationship with someone. I told them yes and that I was going to continue. I was DF'd.
It wasn't until my DF'd aunt who I hadn't seen or heard from in 25 years (through no fault of her own) found me in an online search that I started learned the doctrinal/organisational lies. She told me about the UN scandal, and I never looked back.
My copy of Crisis of Conscience should be arriving any day now.
I was raised as a JW from the age of 8. Funny thing was I went to Catholic school before my parents decided to convert. I often wonder how my life would be different if my folks would have just left it alone.
I started to fade about 2-3 years ago for reasons I am just beginning to understand. I have avoided thinking about it until recently, because I thought if I ignored it I could just get on with the rest of my life. It doesn't quite work that way unfortunately.
I have written in another post that I stayed in because of purely social reasons. That is true. In my case my parents stopped associating with extended family and friends when they became JW's (as they are told to do), and told their children that the congregation was their new friends and family. The result of this was that being a JW became part of my identity. For me to leave I had to be at a place in my life where I could change that identity.
I was raised in it. Ironically, my interest in the doctrines combined with logic and critical thinking got me out. Wel sort of...fading actually.
Unfortunatly I am another one who was raised in it. I had a lot of friends and leaving was so so hard to do but it was something I had to do to be able to be myself. I made quite a few "worldly" friends before I left so that I wouldnt be completely alone when I left but at first it wasnt the same and I still got very lonely. Now nearly a year and a half on I couldnt be happier !
Greven, excessive interest in JW doctrine is not conducive to spiritual health. The most infamous apostate I know here in Oz fell into apostacy because he started a library collecting all the old dub publications that were being thrown out by people in his congo.
I agree that you should make new "worldly" friends before you leave the organization. In this way, you are not alone, as the organization would love. There is a place to go, besides the organization. I think that understanding this is a major key in surviving outside the JW's.
It was Hell that got me in. I was recovering from a near fatal auto crash when the kindly elderly couple knocked at my door. They got me to seriously thinking about how I did not have a clear understanding of who God was and what my relationship was. The one thing that I knew from the little religious training I had received from my Grandmother was that there is no fire in Hell. When I learned that the JW's taught the same thing, I was impressed. I had not found another religion that taught that.
I began to have doubts whenever something in the magazine or on an assembly program would stress unwaivering obedience. I would get a sick, creepy feeling inside. Images of Jim Jones and David Koresh would flash through my mind. I would shake it off each time but the next time it would disturb me even more.
Then Dateline introduced me to Silentlambs which led me to learning about the UN scandal. I did some research and the scripture, "Get out of her my people" played in the background of my mind. I tried to reason with two elders about my findings. I saw it was going to be Hell getting out. I wrote a DA letter and did not look back.
Well I started to study when I was 18...which I was always told is "amazing" that I could drop my whole Teenage/College years and study the "truth". I was completly wrapped up, I believed, like so many others that I would see my family again, loved ones, friends...etc...All these hopes and dreams. I noticed the cliques, the prejudices in the congregation, and so many other things (we all have stories, don't we)
After 5 years of not ever feeling "good enough" or "worthy" or even conisidered "spriitually strong" I started to realize something...I do not answer to Man, I answer to God. Thats when it all started...I got curious to what the "world" had to say about the Org. I found FreeMinds and read, and searched and read. I still have A LOT of reading to do, a lot of research, and a lot of soul searching. I am confused as to what is right, which bible to read, which things to beleive. That is when I knew that the WTS did not have all the answers and when I sat down and and started to think on my own, I couldn't handle the "shunning" or the "conditional" love that people have. I am not like that. Without sounding self righteous, I love all people, regardless. I just cannot see shunning a loved one or a friend because "THEY" tell me to, its not right and it certainly is not Christian.
So that takes me to now...I am "fading" or at least trying to. My husband wants to write a letter for the two of us, I just can't let go of my friends...but are they truly my friends if they shun me? I am glad that I found this board, I see a lot of giving and recieving of support here. I truly feel that this is a place where we will find UNCONDITIONAL LOVE :)