What made you stay "in" even when you knew it wasn't the "truth"?

by mentalclarity 70 Replies latest jw experiences

  • mentalclarity

    So I've been thinking a lot about why I stayed a JW for so long even though I had always had doubts about the doctrines. I was born into the religion, left and came back as an adult for another decade. Some of the things that come to mind (besides the threat of shunning-and this isn't to minimize that very real threat) was:

    I thought this would be a good environment to bring up my kids. I know, I know....super crazy. But you have to consider this was how I was brought up so it didn't seem weird and the only thing I knew about the world was this brief stint where I was around a bunch of young adults who had a lot of issues of their own (dysfunction attracts dysfunction, right?) At that time I didn't have any interaction with other parents,etc.

    In all honesty my family has some rank in the org so it I got a lot of ego-stroking. That was instantaneous from others without me having to do anything at all. I basked in the status of my family (while always being an "on the fringes" JW). Outside the org I was just a regular person (probably feeling less than for an array of reasons) but inside I was really respected.

    The social aspect. We got together a lot for bar b cues, trips, beach days, get togethers,etc It was a community that I felt comfortable in.

    Fear. I was afraid of what was out in "world" and more afraid I didn't have the skills to maneuver being out of the org. I was emotionally immature, uneducated and not economically independent (my ex was working- I wasn't).

    Guilt. I felt I had to do some sort of penance for the mistakes in my life. This included doing drugs/getting pregnant before marriage, etc. Going to meetings/service/studying were all ways to get that. I was working to get on God's good graces and I thought this was the way to do that. Do more!

    Blessings! Yes, I thought if I was a really good JW everything in my life would be blessed. My marriage, job, etcs I guess just life in general.

    Familiarity and knowing how things work. I was pretty adept and sizing up your spirituality and giving you what you wanted to hear. I talked trash with the double-lifers but I could talk the talk with the super spiritual. Since I grew up a JW I knew how to work around things so I could still do something things that were "on the edge" without getting in trouble.

    I always had trouble believing in "Paradise" and many other doctrines that sounded nonsensical but I was all about the community until I realized there were great communities outside the org that weren't always judging you and genuine.

    I'd be interested in hearing what made you stay in even though you realized this might not be the "truth".

  • freddo

    Firstly my being naive enough that any concerns and doubts I had would be answered or respected. Then when I realised that was obviously dopey thinking on my part, the loss of family relationships if I DA'D.

    I even hunkered down and "tried harder" for a couple of years and tried to bury my doubts. But I think once we got to 2010 to 2015 (so that there was no way I could fool myself that the generation that saw 1914 might still survive to Armageddon) - gasped at the desperate idiocy of "the overlapping generation" and seeing Steven Lett, dancing trolley carts and DFD daughters phone calls to parents being ignored in convention dramas - well that finished me off.

    The ARC, money grabbing/closing Kingdom halls/booting bethelites, just confirms that if there is a god who cares he certainly doesn't care about Jborg and all its cult adherents.

  • HereIgo

    Besides the obvious threat of losing my family and being shunned, it was being told how scary the world is and how i would never succeed without the organization.

  • mentalclarity

    Yeah @herelgo - that is a big one if you're born into JWism- the whole "where will I go" and will I be successful looms over you. Constantly being told that JWs are like these incredibly special exceptions..you'll never meet people better than this.

    My JW sister was commenting to her son how nice it was when coming out of the assembly hall parking lot how everyone let each other pass and were so nice to each other like it was this really spectacular event. I just rolled my eyes and thought how that happens a lot in other church parking lots. Not everyone outside are jerks. But imagine always hearing that since birth- it's deeply ingrained to mistrust everyone outside the org.

  • Chook

    It took a while for me to come to the realisation that it wasn't the truth but the second it clicked I was out of there. Some family members say why don't I stay like people who just go along to there weekend church, my response is if I thought the money ( religion) was real why would I want their counterfeit shit any longer. Then they say there is plenty of decent people and I would respond by suggesting why limit my future friends to one in one thousand. One day out of the Jw courtyard is worth a thousand elsewhere.

  • mentalclarity

    @freddo I also tried harder at some point- even studying with someone (I think). I thought...all these people I admire in some way really "believe" - it must be me...I must be missing something. It was hard being the lone dissenter when people seemed to really be into it and I was just sitting there going..ok, this sounds nuts! I have to admit I sometimes envied those that believed....

    Of course, then I found out I wasn't the only one..glad you did too!


    What made you stay "in" even when you knew it wasn't the "truth"?

    Once I figured out it was all BullShit..

    I WAS GONE...

    Image result for Running through wall

  • mentalclarity

    @chook that seems like the logical thing to do- once you realize it's not true..leave. But in my case, there were some "paybacks" I guess that kept me in a while longer until too many things added up and I'd had enough.

  • mentalclarity

    Maybe there are two type of JWs: those that believe and those that don't know any better. Born-ins and converts.

    Which makes sense when you think about why some people leave because they find out about doctrinal issues and others leave because of being exposed to nice people who are "worldly" or see the hypocrisy inside the org.

  • waton

    wanting to be there when the fan is being hit with the rhime.

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