Becoming the average JW (and what I found out about the average 'Joe Witness')
Until a couple of months ago I was an uber-spiritual pioneer, only having association with other pioneers, elders and others who would fill in the category I classified as "spiritually acceptable" friends.
But since stopping pioneering and having more time to think about my doubts and what I really believe (or better said, what I no longer believe), I have started getting to know other less spiritual brothers and sisters of the area. In fact, my old friends are starting to forget me quite quickly, I must say.
So, I guess my next move in fading is becoming what I call the average Witness.
And what did I discover? I found out 'Joe Witness' likes going to meetings to have dinner later at the Chinese restaurant close to the Kingdom Hall. I discovered conversations during the meal are about sports, cars, technology... and almost nothing about the religion or things even vaguely spiritual.
I had a conversation with a brother in his 40s who regrets having no education and no prospect of getting a job. Another brother told me he had a relationship with a non-Witness girl who he loved but they broke up as he couldn't damage his family getting married with someone who is not a JW. He's now depressed for having to renounce to what he wanted to do also for thinking he will never find a partner 'in the Lord'.
I have to admit it's a shock for me. I lived in my own bubble thinking all JWs were happy and the Borg as a whole was almost perfect. I only spoke with spiritual brothers, who said what is supposed you have to say according to the WT. Only when I realised I wasn't happy and didn't know why (contrary to the happiness I was told I had to experience as a witness), I could see something was wrong.
What I see now from the average Witness (that make up 70-80% of the congregations) is boredom, disappointment and a very low morale.
Seeing this, I'd say future for the WT is dark. Very dark.
So true! Imagine at 50 and for over 30 years you only hung out with Super Spiritual Ones! Yeah, it's an eye opener to be with just the regular pubs.
In my case, we had a pool party with no appointed individuals, and we had a blast! A little over drinking, a little cussing, some inappropriate music and 2 sisters had bikinis on. I told everyone, "what happens here, never happened "! One sister even had to puke. Everything was cool, been 8 months since our party, no reports made to the Elders and everyone wants more parties like this one!
My time in as a witness was mid 1950 to the mid 1960's. The JW's my wife and I hung out with never discussed doctrines, never commented on the publications.
We had former Bethelites in our social circle and they were hard drinkers.
When my wife and I left the 'truth' those still active curtailed their association with us. We were no longer in their social club. Which was fine as we had no faith in the WTBTS or anything they taught. However there were a lot of couples who left when we did. Obviously we had developed relationships with the more casual JW's who were more open to 'worldly' things.
I think leaving was more about the culture we wanted to belong to.
Interesting story. But, I have to comment on what you said about only having association with "spiritually acceptable friends" when you were an "uber pioneer". This is a comment I see repeated with people finding their way out of the JW religion. I saw this attitude when I was active in the religion.
The class distinctions within the Witness religion run contrary to their claim of having love among themselves. They have no such love.
Would you help people if you avoid or criticize them? I doubt it...And as the person who was avoided or criticized, do you think I would have helped those who avoided me?...No, I would Not have...I figured their "spiritual" friends should help them....The ones who host those private gatherings.
They can't have it both ways.
I'm glad you are around the average Joe JWs. But, it is sad about their broken dreams and unfulfilled potential. Hearing this makes me glad I was not raised in the religion. My family was far from perfect but I'd take them any day over a JW family.
Yes, it does look bleak for JWs. But, good luck on your journey out of there.
So much for "uber-spiritual pioneer" dubness being a spiritual "protection" lol.
To me it seems the more "uber" and "privileged" a witness is the more likely they are to wake up.
Luke warm apathetic dubs are the worst to try and wake up because they are in the habit of not thinking or caring about whether the religion's teachings are true or not.
James Jack, your comment about sisters wearing bikinis at a pool party made me chuckle. That seems so very appropriate!
Maybe I've been out too long and have forgotten, but do JWs really have issues with wearing bikinis to the pool?
Love you post. It stroke me as sort of divided, the way you describe what seems to be a clear separation between the "average" JWs and the "very JW JWs". Seems like the "elite" doesn't seem to care much for whatever the rest of the congregation does. It has come to that.
What you shared about the conversations you had with the other JWs seems to me like a good thing in the sense that you get to be more in touch with reality, but also in the fact that the "average JWs" seem to be way far away from looking up to those über JWs. Used to be, at least when I was there a few decades ago, that those people were supposed to be looking up and wanting to be like them.
Times have changed. Hopefully for the good.
My spouse and I were the average JW's (so were our kids). We weren't part of the "special club." We called ourselves "losers." It was a joke between us. We were never invited to the JW weddings or much of anything else. Even our wonderful Brother Anthony Morris said in his famous talk that if you are not a MS before the age of 23 that you are not good marriage material. Why stick around where you are not wanted? Much much happier NOW! Why is that? We were told we would be miserable! NOT SO!
And, more seemingly mundane things. You find that the average jokehovian does not just listen to Kingdumb maladies. They might view it as a distraction to listen to such music as Barbra Streisand or Yanni. But, they come to realize that most jokehovians at the outer edge, or anywhere near it, have at least some David Bowie, Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, TLC, or En Vogue in their collection as well. And, it is reasonable to listen to those fine artists--not just Kingdumb maladies all the time. (Let alone those who will call the hounders if you are listening to anything other than Kingdumb maladies, even as tame as Barbra Streisand).
Or those vacations. How many hard-core jokehovians think they need to attend all the boasting sessions and waste whole vacations in field circus each and every time? Rather, most average jokehovians will go and enjoy the time away from theocraptic things. And most of them will watch regular TV, or videos on YouTube. And not just those relatively innocuous shows, either. Most of them watch political videos, having their ideas of what each candidate will do. Most watch sports. Most of them watch shows that include swearing. Some even watch porn at times. It is not all tv-dot-jw-dot-borg for them.
And what about finances? You find that the average jokehovian will not donate all their funds to the Worldwide Damnation Fund, and those who do are going to regret it. They do not all refuse work simply because it will make them miss a few boasting sessions during the course of the year, or so they can do more field circus. Most of them will have some money put away--be it paper investments or precious metals. Most will allow their family the luxury of an ice cream cone, especially during hot weather or to celebrate doing well in school, instead of donating it all to the Worldwide Damnation Fund as the washtowel says you must.
And yes, it can be a stepwise process. Going abruptly from a hardcore jokehovian to nothing is going to provoke the hounders to hunt you down to get you back to hardcore, probably enforced this time. But, sliding from hardcore jokehovian to regular average jokehovian is a good first step. You know something is wrong with the religion because they expect everyone to be starched, always abiding by the religion instead of personal needs. Once you are established there, you can begin to fade by missing more boasting sessions and cutting back on field circus. How fast you do it depends on whether the hounders are hot on your case. It may not be feasible to simply give them The Finger and tell them they won't get anything at all--you will lose family contacts. But, cutting back and getting with those within the congregation viewed as "bad association" is a good first step. Eventually, you can reduce your field circus, perhaps even turning in a fake one hour a month time just to keep the hounders off your back, and cut back on boasting session attendance.