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?