Born into the religion, if that is you, is very different. You were made to do this. You may have liked it or parts of it or you may have hated it all, or a mixture of this. Your being baptized as a JW was not a choice, not like it is for converts. You were not necessarily searching for what the JWs claimed they had. This was probably expected of you. Leaving means leaving life as the only way you've known it. You are more likely to be done with all things religious after this because your only experience with religion was so distasteful. For all I know, it took you more courage and effort to leave than it did for someone like me.
You got a lot right here. We never had a choice to start with. We never learned anything different until we went out searching for it ourselves. Living with the expectation of baptism in order to be saved and that is the only choice offered... yeah it isn't really a choice. Unless you are denied the great privilege of getting baptized. I was denied. I didn't even get to answer the questions. I was a quiet unassuming introverted kid. And actually that was the beginning of the end for me. I passionately believed that my baptism was between me and Jehovah, and no man had the right to deny me that relationship, and so I went and got baptized without permission. Just went and did it. I knew a lot of kids that were refused that right, and most often because their parents were vocal critics of the organization. Yeah, that was my parents... even my annointed mom openly criticized the organization!
Leaving was hard. It was made much easier by the fact that I was already being shunned. I figured if you will shun me based on a rumor then I might as well be myself and give you a real reason to shun me. I'm not religious but I attend Quaker meetings. They kind of rock. You go, sit quietly and meditate on your own beliefs for about an hour. You don't have to become a member and they are transparent about everything they do. But yeah, most the kids I know that left also left behind religion. Although... my brother is Buddhist and my sister is a Quaker. So... maybe it was just us that don't fit the mold?
I don't think you can or should compare the ease or difficulty people have in leaving the cult. I don't think that something so completely individual and subjective can be compared, nor should it be. There is value and validity in every person's exit experience. How a person is effected is entirely dependent on too many variables to make any kind of just comparison.
I have one family member now, barely hanging on, in the group, no blood relation but married in. Saying goodbye for me was simple. I was not leaving behind my family. In fact leaving the Watchtower was the opposite. It was essentially coming back to the family, to support, to my culture. It was like coming back to life after being dead for a few years. I cannot imagine it being the other way around. How do you that?
One day at a time, just like with any other great loss.
Having more than TTATT vs Only Leaving Because You Know It's a Sham
I never really learned the TTATT. I didn't care. I still don't know it well. And I still don't care. The facts of the JW doctrine was never really very important to me. Getting baptized was about my love for and relationship with God. I knew there were contradictions in the writings but I didn't think the organization and God were the same thing and if they were, then it didn't matter because God would eventually sort it all out. When I left it wasn't about what was wrong with the doctrine. It was about what was wrong with the way the organization was treating people. It was about who I was and who I wanted to be versus who I had to be if I wanted to stay. It was about if I could live with myself if I sacrificed my own personal values which didn't coincide with organizational values. I didn't realize how bizarro and wrong the doctrine was until years after I had left. I find that people who converted to the JWs are far more fastidious about the doctrinal fallacies than those who were born into it, even though many born-ins also fall out because of TTATT.
You relatively new ones are probably tired of hearing this or maybe don't even understand it, but the religion I once belonged to died a while back
This is so true! I remember being a little kid and having to think up my own little speech to get the people at the doors to pay $0.50 for both the Watchtower and Awake! magazines... and who would want a Watchtower? Boring! The Awake! magazines were at least interesting back then. They had the weirdest articles. Train surfing. Look it up! I cannot imagine going to the door and asking someone to watch a video with me! So much more embarrassing! I had a hard enough time going way back when and having to talk but at least that made sense. I was 'witnessing' to them. I pity the people who have to do that now.