An unexpected Consequence

by 40wastedyears 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • 40wastedyears

    I have read this board from time to time for almost two years. It has been a mostly positive experience. Since this is my first post, I will give a brief background. I was raised a JW by a fanatical mother, who has a strictly one track mind, and that is to worship the 12 men in Brooklyn. What they tell her to do, she does to the extreme. She has pioneered for the past 20 years or so, and always tries to do more – to the exclusion of everything else in her life. We were allowed no freedom whatsoever other than to do JW related things. Absolutely no “worldly” association, and really, no activities at all unless WT and Awake were read, latest publications studied, all meetings prepared for, etc. Basically, we were to be at a meeting, out in service, or in our room studying. School was allowed but nothing before or after. The fanaticism bugged me, but I felt (and still do) that she was well-intentioned, though severely misguided. I was baptized at 11, pioneered for a while, became a MS, gave talks, etc. In one of my last “training” exercises before being appointed an elder, I went on some shepherding calls. Though most of these were primarily social calls, from time to time some of the brothers and sisters that we visited had serious problems. The elders that I went with basically repeated the age-old mantra: “Pray More. Go out in service more. Don’t miss meetings”, as if doing these things would solve all of life’s problems. This bothered me a lot. I asked, if another elder had been with you, instead of me as a MS, would you have been able to do more for that person. The answer was no, we are not miracle workers, we simply tell them what the society tells us to say. I was very disappointed, and also quite alarmed, as I recognized that I was in no way qualified to offer any real help to these people, and the Prayer Service Meetings trinity of advice wouldn’t help people with legitimate problems. I quit “reaching out” after that and eventually was removed as even a MS, which was fine with me. I felt like I was the only one who actually took seriously just how much impact an elder could have on the lives of others. I am so thankful now that I did not give in to peer pressure to become an elder and ruin who knows how many lives? Of course, “wasting” my potential like this raised a flag and the last 10 years that I was active were often filled with (well meaning???) elders and COs telling me that I had so much more to offer the congregation if I just wanted to do so. I politely declined and/or said that I would “work on it”. Anyhow, for most of my life I felt that it was “the truth”. I had seen many doctrinal flip-flops, errors and clueless policies, but always felt that the GB was made up of sincere men who were trying their best. I once did some research on my own (bad boy) and realized that the society was wrong about 607 BCE and consequently 1914. This did not alarm me. Surely, they would make the appropriate changes when they discovered their error. I thought about writing the society but decided doing so would be an act of arrogance, and decided it was far better to let them figure it out on their own and fix it in “Jehovah’s due time”. About two years ago, I found out that they not only knew they were wrong, but HAD KNOWN for at least 30 years. Mistakes never bothered me. Outright lies did. It was clear that they could not admit the error because it would eliminate 1914 as a valid date, and by extension the teaching that Jesus had turned over the earthly work to them. Quite simply, the 12 men were not the Faithful and Discreet Slave of Matthew 25:45. They knew it and now I knew it. I was basically finished with the Watchtower at that time. I discovered this board and other lies, such as the United Nations. I quit going to meetings, and cannot fathom that I will ever go back. I have not been DF’d and I have not DA’d myself. My wife still goes to the meetings, though her attendance has become sparse. My parents still talk to me, but do not bring up religion. My in-laws hate me and curse the day I was born, but that’s OK, they didn’t like me when I was active either, so no harm done.

    Well that was not so brief after all. I apologize. Getting to the point, one of the things that has happened since I left is that I have become lazy. When I was a good JW, time outside of work was always spent at meetings, out in service, or studying. What little time was left over had to be used to mow the lawn, pull weeds, trim trees, make household repairs, maintain the cars, etc. It was a life so busy and full of drudgery that in hindsight, I wasn’t living – I was simply existing. Now that I have left that life of misery behind I am so much happier, so much more content. Every day is a day to be savored and enjoyed. Life is so much more peaceful, pleasant and relaxing. I have a tremendous amount of free time as well. But I feel that I have become “too content”. As I said, I have become lazy. If I don’t cut the lawn today, I can do it tomorrow. After all it’s not a “meeting night”. Yard work can wait until next weekend, because I know I won’t be going out to make my quota of hours. Other things too are being put off, because I now know that Armageddon isn’t coming in the next two or three months. This attitude is carrying over to my work also. I have not been as focused and self-disciplined as I need to be. A large part of my job involves sales, which is mostly a matter of following up with existing prospects. I have been neglectful. Downright lazy. My work (and my income) has suffered. Is it possible that JW life has at least one possible benefit, in that it fills your entire life with a sense of urgency? Has anyone else had this problem? If so, how have you dealt with it?

    I’d rather live under a bridge than go back to that life. But I finally have a life after all these years, and fear that I am throwing it all away by my lack of focus. As a JW it was impossible to have long-term goals because there was never going to be a long term. Now that I have a chance to live, why do I feel like I am blowing the opportunity?


  • Yerusalyim


    Welcome to the board and thanks for sharing.

  • jgnat

    Welcome, 40wastedyears. Personal stories are one of my favorite posts on this board. In answer to your question, I think your journey of self-discovery has just begun. Sure, our lives go better with purpose and structure. I am glad you figured out that missing that structure is not reason enough to go back. You now know what you don't believe. But it is another thing entirely to figure out what you do believe. I suggest you spend some time in self-discovery, and find a worthy cause to give some (not all) of your bounteous free time to.

  • little witch
    little witch

    welcome to the board 40.

    Don't be too hard on yourself, it takes time to take control of your own life. Don't sweat the small stuff, and enjoy using your time and talents as you see fit!

    I wish you all the luck in the world in your journeys!

  • Gopher


    Welcome to the board! It's good to have you here.

    You said:

    A large part of my job involves sales, which is mostly a matter of following up with existing prospects. I have been neglectful. Downright lazy. My work (and my income) has suffered.

    Well now we're out of that "put first the Kingdom, Jehovah will provide for us" mode. Now we can see more clearly that we're responsible for our successes and failures in life.

    With that having been said, you have to examine your motivation for doing your work. Is it survival? If so that should be scary enough to get you off the couch. Is it to excel? Is it for personal pride? Is it to best serve your customers?

    You have to figure out what your motive is, what end result you want (now that it's not "to maintain yourself so that you can go on serving Jehovah, um , that is -- the Watchtower Society"). Once you determine your motivation, then focus on that end goal, visualize it, and make it happen.

    If you are totally unmotivated by your sales job, maybe you need to examine another career.

    Best wishes to you! I hope you'll keep us posted here.

  • Nosferatu

    Sounds to me like you're making up the lost time for relaxation. Hell, I don't blame you! I agree with jgnat, self-discovery is something excellent to look into. You'll learn a lot about yourself, and you'll end up learning a lot about how your upbringing has affected your life. Try to conquer your fears, improve on areas of your personality that you've always had a problem with, and I guarantee you'll get more fulfillment out of that than a boring paradise earth.

  • Dogpatch

    Thank you for posting Glen,

    Many of us have gone through the same thing, and recovery gets better and better as you go along!

    There are some pretty good stories about those who have been in the ORG for 20-60 years up at:

    Randy Watters

    Net Soup!

  • Joyzabel

    Welcome to the board, 40wastedyears. (love that name)

    Anytime there are major changes in one's life there is major emotions to deal with and just life in general. It could be that since you were under so much pressure to do, do, do before the big A came and then the "busy work" of the trinity (cute phrase) service, meetings & prepare, that now you are going to the other extreme. That's ok as long as it doesn't affect you financially. Maybe that would be a big incentive to get back to a schedule at work, you need to eat!

    Be patient with yourself but start doing some structure in your life. That may help.

    Now go mow the grass and trim the bushes. We'll see you back here soon enough.




    What an incredible story, and thank you for sharing.

    It's always interesting and intriguing to read newly exited peoples stories of their lives as former JWs.

    I'm always thrilled to see someone leave.

    Not easy; that old mindset still creeps in from time to time, but less as time goes on.

    As for 'existing', man oh man, Glen...when you wrote that...I stopped and thought about it. I recalled my days after having left the organization: I got used to existing.

    When I left, I almost threw everything, including caution, to the wind. It was nice, for some time, to do: nothing.

    40 years - my goodness, and I only put in 7 to 8 years. But, the long-lasting effects took another 10 years or more to shed.

    Welcome to the forum Glen. I thoroughly enjoyed your story.

    Best to you and your family. Please stick around. I have a feeling you have plenty to contribute and may even help someone consider leaving for good too.

  • happyout

    Welcome to the board! I used to be in outside sales, and after leaving the borg, I found myself using time I should have been prospecting for new accounts either shopping, reading, or just staying at home watching TV. I think, in my case at least, my mind went into a kind of shut down mode, just to relieve itself from having been crammed with so much information all the time. Unfortunately, as you know, with sales, if you are lazy your income takes an immediate hit. I took an inside sales job to help me get my discipline back, and it was the best thing I could have done. I never went back into outside sales, but moved from inside sales to the operational side, and I am much happier. I think your brain is taking a little vacation, much deserved, and now you have to kick it back into gear.

    Congratulations on getting out, now that you are moving past the initial stage of recovery, you will find SO MANY BETTER THINGS to do with your time. But, don't throw out the good things you learned, like your good work ethic.

    Hope to hear great things from you soon,


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