I think I made up my mind

by paradiseseeker 25 Replies latest jw friends

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    Congrats on making up your mind!

    This surely is a big step for anyone to take. I can imagine that you can see yourself pulling out last minute.

    You have the right to live your life as you see fit.

    You are not responsible for other people's happiness, only your own.

    If people choose to feel sad or angry over your choice of religion, that is entirely up to them. That is not your burden to carry.


    I do agree with other posters on some points.

    1) Doing this right after the memorial makes the event a yearly painful event for friends and family. It also (somewhat intentionally) puts a downer on their yearly religious high. So if you do this, do it today. Or on some other non-specific date. It's more kind to everyone.

    2) DA or not DA doesn't really make a difference in your status to Watchtower. Watchtower doesn't have a centrally maintained membership list. If you DA, both the local congregation and the branch office will keep a record of your DA. If you don't DA, only your local congregation will keep a record of you being inactive. Either way, a record is kept somewhere. DA serves no real purpose, except perhaps for giving you closure. In that case, consider writing a DA letter, put it in an envelope, but don't send it. Or send it to Bethel without identifying yourself. Remember that when you DA, your family must shun you. If you don't, they probably will, but they don't have to if they choose not to.

    An alternative to DA is to quit cold Turkey. Simply stop all JW activity. Tell your friends and family "I can no longer in good conscience attend JW meetings or go to field service." When they ask for details, tell them you are willing to share your reasons if they promise confidentiality. If any elders call or text, politely but firmly tell them to get lost. This scenario worked somewhat for me. Most JW friends dropped me anyway. Some JW family too. But a few friends and family are still in touch, which they wouldn't have if I DAed...

    Anyway, regardless of all our opinions, do what you know needs to be done.

    Good luck to you! I wish you wisdom, calmness and strength to go from pimo to pomo. You deserve to live as you see fit!

  • dubstepped

    My wife and I disassociated. It was the best thing we ever did. No more playing their games, never again will we have to have family pressuring us to go to meetings or elders popping up to visit. One day we were in, the next we were totally free.

    Yes, the reality is that you'll lose your family. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. You cannot un-ring that bell. Once you put a bullet in the thing it is dead. But also, it is dead, and you can go live life. Most of our families are deeply toxic and honestly sometimes it's not bad to have that forced distance. If they get healthy we'll be happy to be there for them.

    There's a stigma against disassociation by those that have never done it. I've done it, my wife did it, and I've helped others to as well, IF that's their choice. There's a certain something to living life in complete truth. We took a stand when we became JWs, and we took a stand when we left.

    So whatever you do, do you. This is your life. Live it the way that you want, and you don't owe anyone anything.

  • john.prestor

    You're not letting anybody down, and even if you are, who cares? Live your own life. Make your own decisions. Don't let them decide your life for you

  • snakeface

    paradiseseeker, you said you are letting your friends down by leaving. No, you are not.letting them down. You are doing what you believe is right. If they do not support your decision, THEY ARE NOT FRIENDS. Their loyalty is to the organization, not to you.

    You will find that out very soon. And when you do, do not.lose sight of the fact that YOU are not the problem. They are.

    Imagine if you always went shopping at Walmart each week with your friends. Then you decided you like Target better. So you told your friends you will not be going with them to Walmart anymore, but you would love it if they would come to Target with you, just once, to see how it is. What if then they said they will no longer speak to you, or even help you if your car breaks down and you are stranded, until you shop at Walmart with them. How ridiculous! You would be able to see that they do not care what your personal shopping preference is; they are only concerned about you being who they expect you to be.

    That's exactly how the WT cult is.

  • rawe

    Hi paradiseseeker,

    My wife and I talked about leaving the faith a few times before we actually did. Almost immediately after I was appointed an elder I became disturbed by how this part of the faith functioned. I already had some serious doubts about the existence of God, Noah's flood and how we treated the theory of evolution. But we were both greatly frightened by the prospect of leaving. So we hung on for a few more years.

    When we left it was dramatic. Out in service Saturday morning and left that afternoon. But a circumstance surrounding my daughter was a catalyst. Two years previously I resigned as an elder and was now more comfortable with the idea my doubts about the existence of God was not going to go away.

    Once a person has decided I don't think there is much reason to delay. In most cases I recommend against writing a letter of disassociation. Unless the person is still in agreement with the rules of the faith there is no real obligation to follow their formulas.

    Leaving was a bit disorienting. I found keeping all the other parts of my life in a routine helped. Work was still there. My family was still there (in my case my wife and daughters left with me). I took up running, which helped. Eventually we found an Ex-JW meetup group and that was great (mostly). I say "mostly" because one of the two groups near us was oriented towards getting JWs to become nominal Christians -- which I wasn't interested in.

    The cold realization that so many friendships in the faith are conditional came as a shock. Literally nothing about my person, how kind I had been or continued to be made a difference. The depth of the influence the faith has over those who believe was more than I ever thought.

    Adjusting to the world outside also took time. As awful as the JW life was, there is something to being part of a small group who self-style themselves as "us against the world." There is an odd reality to the "brotherhood" that I found doesn't exist in the larger wider world. The good news I found is with some work relationships you do gain are built on a much better foundation. The ability to really listen without judgment is great. I eventually joined another religion (Unitarian Universalists) who accept atheists.

    It wasn't easy to leave, but after being out for all these years, we are so happy to have it in our past. My wife and girls love Christmas!

    Take care, -Randy

  • HappyBlessedFree

    You will never be discredited here. I read that it takes an incredibly brave person to wake away from a high control group. And you are brave for just thinking about it.

    I left four months ago. And it’s a process that I recommend you do in baby steps. I told my JW husband I have some thing I need to think about spiritually and I am talking a break from meetings to have the time to figure them out. It was basically a stalling technique. To let him get used to our new reality. I am fortunate not to have any JW family besides my husband.

    Why do you feel the conviction to disassociate? I can’t blame you for it. The day I woke up I wanted to also. But I had to take a step back let my feelings settle and evaluate everything first before I made any Big moves. Take your time with it. Whatever you decide is the right decision for you. Hoping all the best for you!

  • Diogenesister
    Bourneidentity Think of how strong a suicide bombers belief is that they are doing the right thing for God. It's no different with your parents and loved ones, it is really sad when you think about it.

    I say this over snd over again. If the call came to die these victims, including many senior leaders, would do so with joy in their hearts.

    They are the real victims. We are free. Dissassociation is not for everyone. While it is commendable, we each have different circumstances. Are our parents getting on in years? Do we have pimi kids? Do we have an extensive outside support system? Telling your parents you cannot continue due to doubts (and remember you can drip feed those doubts to them) is one thing, DA hourself and admitting all to multiple cong members is quite another. In the latter case shunning is mandatory.

    Do what is best for you and yours. There is no rush, and you owe nobody an explanation for what you decide, oh and best of luck(can say that now!)

  • The Fall Guy
    The Fall Guy

    Take things slowly and consider all the potential options and outcomes.

    You have a P.M.

    I wish you well on your chosen course.

  • zeb

    You sound to be a kindly soul. Consider going to a counsellor one that is experienced with cults to help ease your way into your new life.

    My heart goes with you.

  • paradiseseeker

    Thank you all for your responses, they've been very comforting and I feel really grateful that you can understand my situation and support me on that.

    I read that most of you prefer fading, and I understand your reasons and respect that option, but in my case and particular situation I think that's not the best one. Let me explain why:

    I live in a small city, so every JW knows who is a witness, who is not, who is dfd and who is inactive. That means, if I try to fade everyone will know it for sure, and if in the process of fading I start creating a new net of friends most probably I will be spotted when I go out with them, and that means receiving calls from the elders or even judicial comitees, and that is something I'm not willing to put up with.

    Going to live elsewhere is something that is not under my control: I'm a teacher, I work for the State and I don't have a fixed post yet. That means that during this school year I will be in my city but I don't know if next year I will be sent to a different school in the same city or to a small village more or less far from here. Thus I don't want to just simply wait for circumstances to fit my expectations, I want to act now.

    Apart from that, I feel that fading would mean prolonging my parents and friends' agony. They are already noticing that I feel zero enthusiasm at meetings and they have already lectured me about that and urged me to be clear about what I want. I no longer want to hold the truth from them or act like I can be somehow "saved" (like leaving an open door for recovery). I imagine an hypothetical me in the process of fading, getting from time to time text messages from my mum with WT articles or news "indicating" that Armaggedon is near and faking a "thanks for the information" and I... I just don't want to do that any longer.

    And just to make it clear, I'm not going to tell them the reasons of my leaving, I will just say "I will not go into too many detail because I don't want to start a debate or try to convince you of anything, I simply don't agree with many things in this religion and because of that I think that the most coherent thing to do is leaving". I know, just saying "I don't agree" would be enough for many to label as an apostate, but I need to be as sincere with them as I can without being confrontational. I know that is hard for them too, but don't think that I will be "punishing" them: I'm just living my life without hurting anybody, their reaction on that is up to them and I would be very glad to maintain a normal relationship if they were willing to. In fact, my sister is dfd and my parents do talk to her, and I must say, they appreciate her more than my brother who is an elder and has become some sort of Pharisee. Finally, one of those close friends I talked about was dfd in the past and during that time I kept contact with him, so maybe...

    I do think however that you are right on saying that maybe the day after the Memorial is not the most suitable day. I didn't choose that day for any symbolism or something like that, it's simply that in that window of time it will be appropriate because it happens that I will be staying at my parents' house for vacation and it will happen before a time when I will do several trips and other things and for which I would be better off with all this thing "solved". So maybe I'll consider doing it on a different day, but I hope not to delay it much further.

    I hope that you understand my position and again, thank for your time reading this and letting me know your thoughts. If you want to add something it will be welcome.

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