Being able to understand and identify the "cracks" (i.e. unintended consequences) in the many systems we are surrounded by had a profound influence on my ultimate decision to step away from the ORG. I mentioned in my first post there were many nuanced details that added up to help me to finally take the steps I needed to exit, and this was a fairly big one.
Most of the information I exposed myself to, like many within the organization, was limited to WT literature, or from other witnesses. I was not one to just be interested enough in what was going on in the world around me to stop and research and try to make sense of it. Why would I need to? After all what more could we expect from Satan’s wicked system? Jehovah was going to fix it all in the end anyway! This type of thinking left me wide open to the possibility of “falling through the cracks.” Let me explain…
I had always taken the stance that knowing or talking about any problems that might exist within the organization would not be upbuilding or positive, and should thus be avoided at all costs. I would downplay when other Witnesses talked about their personal problems (mentally “blaming the victim”) and would definitely not believe someone if they told me of some problems that existed within the ORG. I understand now that this blinded me to the realities that were right under my nose and exposed me to the great possibility that I could be detrimentally impacted by the ORG. How did I finally come to realize this?
My ever-patient husband tried so many different ways to get me to start thinking about things and to break out of my zombie-like state of adherence to the JW mindset. He would send me articles that he had read about anything and everything. Political systems, the financial system, the health system, education system, climate change, cognitive biases, conspiracy theories…you name it, he’d read it! I felt least threatened by information he sent me that had nothing to do with religion or JW’s in particular. I was not always interested in the topics that he sent me but I could see that my understanding it was important to him, so I read it.
We had lengthy discussions about all of these topics and what stood out was that ALL of the systems have “cracks” in them. “Holes” that real people could fall down and have their lives, at the least negatively impacted, or at worst, completely ruined. I always had the idea that there were “bad apples” that existed within these systems, but believed that all in all the institutions themselves were good. Our discussions helped me to understand that these systems had mechanisms set up to protect the institution often at the cost of human lives, livelihoods, health, and happiness. That real people “fell through the cracks.”
A couple of the systems we discussed, were very important to me (health and education) and it was at this point that I made a terrifying mental connection – What if the system of worship that I based my entire life around wasn’t what I thought it was? What if the “cracks” existed in that institution too? It was a very scary thought.
Despite having this epiphany of sorts, I still managed to put this to the back of my mind. I am sure I thought that if I made myself blissfully happy within the organization by being as faithful and active as possible, I wouldn’t have to look at this new gaping hole that may exist or imagine how many others this may have impacted. The ARC then gave me no place to hide. The “cracks” were there, the “holes” enormous and worst of all it was obvious that the ORG was trying to deny that they existed and were unwilling to address them. They still are. I did not want to leave my children or myself in a vulnerable position to “fall through the cracks” within an organization unwilling to identify problems, openly discuss and endeavor to address them.