Starting To Wake Up
I suppose after lurking around for a few weeks I thought I might share my own personal story, as I think it would probably be a very freeing experience for me right now.
To start off, At 23 years old I'm actually a Third-Generation JW, my grandparents were baptized (my grandfather is actually an Elder) when my mother was only a toddler, she was raised as a Witness, then of course, married a Witness and thus myself and my two brothers were born-in's.
Growing up my mother was always very careful about what she taught me, all the good things for sure, about how we would live in a paradise earth and I could pet all the animals that I wanted and not worry about growing old, and she'd ask me who in the bible I'd love to see and talk with - my grandparents however, were a different story and the cause of I think, most of my childhood trauma.
They really drilled home the fact that we were the only people who were going to be saved, we were the only people that were going to survive and that everyone else was going to die horribly - that I shouldn't try to make that many friends in school because they would never be "real" friends unless they were fellow JW's and they would die anyway. I was frequently shown (and its all over most publications anyway) illustrations of fireballs raining from the sky and people falling into cracks in the earth on one page, meanwhile on the other page, people were laughing and smiling with the sun on their face. It scared me.
It scared me to the point where, despite the fact that I and my family regularly attended meetings when I was younger, every thunderstorm caused me to go into full-blown panic thinking that this was the beginning of the end, sunsets triggered horrible visions of angels flying down from the sky and smiting the "wicked" and I was still scared because I thought, I was going to die regardless.
Well fast-forward to present time, my mother and father divorced (adultery on his part), my mother is an unactive JW, my older brother is atheist, and my younger brother has yet to state his opinion on the matter. Our last visit to my grandparents house is really what I think, triggered me to finally search things up.
My grandfather spoke quietly to my mother and I, about how the Organization (I do not know if he meant the GB or just those in the meeting) felt that The End was drawing even closer the it was before, and that there was a renewed urgency in the preaching work. Of course, that sent me into a silent panic attack, and even my mother, who normally is very calm, got rattled.
We after returning home, and my mom seemed adamant that we return to the meetings, something however, changed in me I think, all those years of not attending, of living in "The World" and meeting people, making friends, experiencing life. I turned to my mom and asked, "Could you do that? Could you leave behind your sons?" Because I knew in my heart, and I think mom knows too, that my older brother is not about to change and flip back, especially not when the last he spoke about the JW, he called it a cult (ironic that I had been so opposed to hearing him say that before.)
She couldn't 100% answer, and as the days went by I began wondering myself, if God really intended to wipe out ALL those who were not JW. Even those whose crime was simply following the faith that they had been raised in, just like my mother was doing, just like I had been doing.
So I decided to look on the internet, the official JW website, because I decided if I wanted to get back into things, there was some fairly simply questions I had been wanting to know for y e a r s. Something simple, like. Dinosaurs.
I typed in Dinosaurs and was met with just a single article, that wasn't even directly answering the "Where did dinosaurs come from?" question, but was rather, about Creationism in general.
So I took to google, because surely there were other brothers and sister out there wondering what our stance was about Dinosaurs! And then I found this website, and jw-facts and I could swear I almost stopped breathing.
I had never known much of the origins of our religion, nor really questioned any of the teachings that I'd been taught, or where they came from, or if they even matched up with the scriptures. So many things I never knew appeared in front of my eyes. I'll admit I was terrified at first, because this meant that I was looking at "Apostate" material, that surely this was the Devil's way of making an already spiritually-weak individual fully succumb.
But then I read the scripture
1 John 4:1 "Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world."
And I thought to myself, why would the GB warn away looking up information outside of the WTS if in the scriptures, it asks us to test the truth of everything we are taught, to ensure it is coming from God?
So I learned as much as I could, and I suppose to could call if foolishness, or perhaps hopeful thinking that I confronted my mother about all of what I found and she was horrified to find that I was on "apostate sites!" Needless to say we got into quiet a heated argument that didn't really get anywhere except for this exchange:
Me: I just cannot accept the fact that Jehovah would destroyed 99.9% of the earth simply because they weren't Witnesses! What about all these people in the world, good honest people whose only crime is that they don't call themselves JW? Whose only crime is that they are firm in their belief of God and Jesus but go to a church instead of a Kingdom Hall? How is that loving?
Mom: But don't you think he's also been a patient God as well? It's been how many years since Adam's original sin that he has waited for humanity?
Me: So you would be perfectly okay to live forever, for all eternity on a paradise earth, without my brothers?
Mom: I don't know.
Me: Without me?
Mom: Jehovah can see the heart's of good people. I can't speak for him, I can't say what will happen. But Jehovah knows the hearts, and knows what it was that made you(r) brothers lose their faith, I'm sure he takes that into consideration.
So in essence, my mother does not really fully believe in the "Only JW will survive" and that has always been one of the main reasons why I have started to wonder and question, among every single thing that I read (and agree with, and have my eyes opened about) that single fact of "If Jehovah really wanted only those in a small group to survive, why did he not state as such in the Bible? Why did Jesus not make mention of it, if that key feature was so important?"
So I suppose in a nutshell, maybe I've always kinda had my eyes half-open, but learning the mountain of information has really made me question everything. I honestly in my heart still believe that there is God, and that his name is Jehovah (or Yahweh) and his son, Jesus Christ, died for us. I just don't believe that the only means of getting to truly know and appreciate him, and to have a loving relationship with him, is through the WTS.
Good for you, it's good to think critically about these things.
The rabbit hole is deep and there is much to research, this is an exciting time to wake up you'll be so glad you did.
Searching, you keep searching and the truth will set you free. Stick with facts only. A good court case that comes to the right conclusion is generally fact based. Again welcome.
Most JW's do not believe what your mother does not. Here is an interesting thought to share with her.
If Jehovah is "being patient" and allowing more to come in that is fine, but he is also making sure that more people born will die.
Just look at it this way. These are rough numbers but pretty close. the point is clear.
Every year around 130 Million people are born. About 50-55 Million people die that same year (includes all deaths).
Last year 265K were baptized (and by guess, roughly 60-80K were disfellowshipped).
So every year Jehovah is patient, he is going to have to kill another 75million or so people!
Does that make sense? I think she is reading that scripture with meaning that has been supplied to her, but not the meaning intended. Or the bible could be kooky.
Also Welcome! I missed that part.
I in my early 30's did what you did. I was shocked to find out that "apostates" in most cases had legitimate gripes, and were not mentally diseased liars. They were just people....like me....and they lost so much for what they believed.
Fear is a great motivator, but a bad decision maker. Study the history and doctrine. Start over. Watch the fear go away. These dudes in Brooklyn can't hurt you, no matter what nonsense they spout. Not if you don't let them.
Thank you guys, it really glad that I finally decided to speak up about my concerns and my thoughts!
@ problemaddict 2
I really could not agree more with your sentiment. As they say, Knowledge is Power and the fact that a lot of what I've read discrepancies not only in what they say vs what their history shows BUT also what they preach vs what is in the scriptures!
I honestly hope that one day, my mother and I will be able to have a real talk about this, and I can bring up things I take issue with, specifically the 144,000 & the fact that Jesus never said anything about only a select few partaking. She has been a JW all her life, so almost 50 years, I know it won't be easy but that is my sincere wish.
Hi and welcome! Your life is just beginning in many ways. The clarity that comes with knowing the "truth about the truth" is wonderful.
Your questions are what lead me to walk away. My son has always been a gentle soul and is a beautiful young man. He married his childhood friend and sweetheart, a JW with terminal cancer. Things ended badly, as one might expect. He was deeply hurt and acted out. The elders kicked him to the curb and DF'd him. I couldn't shun him; I wouldn't.
I began to reason, if I was going to live forever in a paradise earth without my husband and daughter who walked away and my son who was DF'd, wouldn't Jehovah have to erase them from my memory? If I didn't remember I had been a wife and a mother, who would that be in paradise? Certainly not me. I chose life here and now with my family over a doctrine that made no sense to me. Best choice ever-- the only one if you love your family more than a fairy tale.
Wow! You're waking up at 23; I was just getting going strong as a JW at that age. I wish I had had the internet when I was your age. I ended up losing my life to JWdom.
The dinosaur question haunted me since I was a teenager, and I asked the top JWs in my area about it. Never got an answer. I wondered many things about them, but one of the main things had to do with the seeming fact that many were ferocious carnivores and the evidence indicted that they existed a long time before the supposed creation of man in the Garden of Eden.
JW teaching is (at least, was in my time) that animals didn't kill each other before the rebellion in the Garden of Eden (or maybe before the flood - can't remember). Anyway, I wondered why, if animals didn't kill each other until a few thousand years ago, was there ample evidence that they had been doing so for millions of years.
Welcome to the forum. You have opened a door on reality. Walk through the door and live the rest of your life to the full. Best wishes to you and I know you will learn a lot from many of the posters here.