A question about fading....
There are one or two elders in my old congregation that I would refer to as bulldogs, one for sure. If he were to catch wind that I might no longer agree with WT teachings, he may not let it go. So I put on a show. I'm also building up "worldly" friends and would like to keep 1 or 2 of the friends in the congregation, at least until they decide to shun me. I can't make friends at work (work at home), so it takes quite a bit of effort to find acquaintances.
FayeDunaway hit it right on the spot: "Yes, family is the primary reason. Also it prevents a disfellowshipping for apostasy...if you go slow, they are less likely to suspect something."
I have suffered so much from having lost my family ever since I pulled away from the WT have submitting a disassociation note over 20 years ago. If I would have "faded" instead, it would have been a lot easier to deal with than what I have gone through since then.
I have to do a super slow fade. I have my kids who I don't want to confuse too much. I have my mother who is a pioneer locally. I have my sister who is in bethel. I am not ready to lose them. They would Def cut me off if I da'd or was df'd
Brilliantly said Chris Hannover!!!
Absolutley the best and wisest advice!
Well written sir!
I talk about fading in my book "Escape from Paradise" in a chapter called "Death may be the easiest way." I try to explain to the non-JW that there are only 4 ways to leave the Jehovah's Witnesses:
I attempt to explain to those unfamiliar how all 4 of these work; here's an excerpt of how I describe fading:
Fading out of the Jehovah's Witness faith often takes skill and subtlety, as well as a fair amount of good luck and favorable circumstance. Ex-JWs usually consider fading to be the trickiest of the ways to leave the faith. It also seems to be the most desirable way in most cases, because the pain from total shunning can be avoided, while at the same time moving on with your life. If you have no friends, no family, no coworkers and no neighbors who are Jehovah's Witnesses, and you really don't care if you ever see one again for as long as you live, then disfellowshipping and disassociation may not hurt you that much. However, this is not a very common situation. Because of this, many choose to try to fade, even if it is the most difficult to pull off.
To successfully fade from the Watch Tower clutches, you have to use passive aggressive skills to the max. If you don't have the predisposition for it, or the good luck to have elders in your congregation or family members who will let you fade, then you could ultimately be forced into a disfellowshipping or disassociation situation.
To fade usually means to slowly reduce your meeting attendance and all other association with the Witnesses. You usually have to do this as imperceptibly as possible. If you have family members who are very active, this can make things difficult. If you are an elder or ministerial servant, this makes it tough as well. To fade successfully, you have to make sure to never say anything negative about the Watch Tower Society or about their doctrine or behavior. You have to make excuses for why you are not attending meetings and not going out in field service, always implying that you know you should do more and that you plan on doing it if you can. Being contrite about things makes it more acceptable and less suspicious to other Jehovah's Witnesses, because you will not be perceived as a threat to them.
In order to fade successfully, you will need to get the other Jehovah's Witnesses to simply deem you "weak in The Truth," "spiritually weak" or "inactive." You will have to be able to bear this labeling, and the partial shunning you will receive from it. Partial shunning (also called "marking") is actually what you want to have happen. This is when individual JWs will begin to omit you from their social activities, and will whisper about you behind your back. Getting marked means less to your family though, because nobody expects your family members to completely cut you off just because others avoid you for not being a good strong JW. As long as you are not disfellowshipped or disassociated, your family can still talk to you. So, if you want to fade successfully, you have to accept the marking (partial shunning) that comes with it.
To fade successfully also means that you have to refrain from openly doing the many things you know could get you disfellowshipped. You cannot fade, hang around Jehovah's Witnesses from time to time, but then openly move in with a boyfriend or girlfriend. (JWs cannot have sex outside of marriage.) You cannot fade, hang Christmas lights on your house and have Jehovah's Witness friends over for eggnog. (JWs cannot celebrate any holiday.) You cannot fade, and then run for public office in your town. (JWs cannot be involved in politics.) If you try to mix these things, you will be hunted down by the elders of the congregation you faded from, and disfellowshipped for conduct unbecoming a Jehovah's Witness "Christian."
This is what makes fading from the Jehovah's Witness faith so difficult for so many. You may think you are fading successfully by not going to meetings and not doing public preaching any longer, but in time forget that you cannot attend a wedding at the church of a non-Witness friend, who knows one of your Witness friends. (JWs can never attend any other church.) You may forget that you should not attend a work-related friend's bachelor party with strippers, only to have a Jehovah's Witness workmate hear about you being there. (JWs cannot be involved in loose conduct.) There are so many rules and regulations in the Jehovah's Witness faith that can get you disfellowshipped, including things like letting your child have a blood transfusion to save their life, picking up lottery winnings in public, or smoking a celebratory cigar following a child's birth. In time, you may slip up and be seen doing some of these things. If you are still associating with Jehovah's Witnesses in any meaningful way, then watch out! You will pay the price for your folly, and will be formally disfellowshipped.
To recap, successfully fading means you have to disassociate yourself in a manner of speaking, just not formally. In that way, you can always talk to Jehovah's Witnesses when you need to. In order to be safe though, you should keep that association rare and on your own terms. The less the active Jehovah's Witnesses know about your new non-Witness life, the better.
I personally am a fader. I sold my home and moved far enough away to require me to change congregations, but close enough to still have access to the town I grew accustomed to. I had my congregational records moved from my old one to my new one, and then simply stopped going to meetings altogether. The new elders didn't have a vested interest in me enough to care that I did not attend anymore, so I was free. Since my immediate family lived in another state and had faded themselves, with no other family members being Jehovah's Witnesses, my fading was relatively simple.
I still run into old Witness "friends" from time to time, and they are pleasant enough to me when we speak. We can talk about old times, but I try not to bring up anything specific about my current life that could alarm them. When they ask me directly if I am "still going to meetings," I tell them no, but try to look sad about it. They will shake their heads and admonish me to try to get back to "the safety of Jehovah's Organization." At that, I will grimace and nod my head in return. They think I'm nodding my head in agreement with them. In actuality, I'm grimacing and nodding my head because I'm telling myself, "Yes, I knew you would say that same old tired Watch Tower robot-speak."
I have actually had one or two of those old "friends" attempt to get together with me socially, but I always make an excuse to get out of it, especially if it means I would be spending a lot of time with them. I like to keep my encounters with Jehovah's Witnesses brief, using that short time to do what some ex-JWs call "reverse witnessing." By this, I mean that I will let them see how happy and fulfilled my life is. I show them pictures of my family life, talk about my wonderful non-JW wife and tell them about the parties I attended recently with my close non-JW friends. I will also talk about my fulfilling career, or my adorable pets, or any other number of things like that. I do this because most Jehovah's Witnesses believe it is impossible to be happy and joyful outside of their religion, especially if you used to be one of them. When they don't find me angry, miserable, or walking around like the living dead, it puzzles them. I am always hoping that this will plant seeds of doubt in their minds so that someday they will wake up to realize what they don't have. Yes, my approach is subtle, but it's really the only thing I can do. I have rarely seen an ex-JW win by using an in-your-face approach with an active Jehovah's Witness, that's why I have chosen to avoid that route.
That is also why I use a pen name. Should any of my Witness acquaintances find out I am the author Brock Talon, they would never speak to me again for writing "apostate" books. Even though that really wouldn't hurt me any longer, it would hurt them. I would never be able help any of them after that. Besides, I really would not get any joy out of hurting their feelings just because I could do so. I try to keep in mind that it is not entirely their fault that they are the way they are. After all, I used to be just like them.
For the time being, these people may think they have marked me because I am not strong in The Truth, but they at least don't totally shun me. In reality though, I am the one who has marked them. That is something that would never dawn on them, since they believe they are the chosen ones and always have the upper hand. I let them think whatever they like, because my life is peaceful, and free from the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head, while I know one hundred percent that theirs is not.
I don't have family in so I really don't have that to loose...I'm slowly fading just to deprogram my child, we already stopped going to the weekly mtg & i don't want them to start asking me questions since I already have plan to completely fade begining of this year with the excuse of moving to another cong. & I'm changing my #, i never gave them my home address.... i think if you don't have family in & ur friends in the org are not really "friends", with their clicks & conditional friendships & u have mostly "worldly" friends which in my opinion are better friends anyway, I see no reason to stop going cold turkey, i would!!
Fading is like an art form. Each situation is different. Fading is dependant on various factors like family, how involved is someone, things like these.
Yes, it can take years, perhaps even decades to ''fade'' out, for the sake of keeping loved ones.
Thank you Brock for your post. Great advice we are trying and so far so good.
Can I ask what is the benefit of that instead of a fast fade?
It is not automatic that the fast fade is better, but I do wish more people would consider it. There are many who can probably just walk away today and never go back with no real problems.
If family is not your issue, consider the instant fade. Just don't deal with the elders at all. If someone has no reason to deal with any JW's if they left, that would be even easier to choose instantly fading.
Some with family issues feel they need to keep going and slowly fade. But make sure you actually "fade." Set goals to attend one less meeting in the next couple of months than you did in the last couple of months. Many are able to entirely stop meetings eventually. Others maintain family by going to the memorial only. Many many can get entirely out of field recruiting either by becoming inactive or by turning in 1-hour slips from a point onward.
....and if someone is fading to keep JW friends, I will say this. You will probably lose them and if you don't, they will probably bug you to go more often to the Hall, the assembly, the recruiting.
If they are really weak JW's, maybe you will keep them. For me, it wasn't worth even trying. Good riddance.