I would like to share my brief experience about my life from liberal JW to a ex-JW.
As I told you in my first post, I'm from Juarez, Mexico. I'm second generation born-in, well not really... my mother knew JWland in 1968 and a year later, she got baptized. Then her family (mother, sisters and nephews) became JW. She survived the big A in 1975 :)
According with the stories she told me, she was considered as a "liberal" JW, because every time she questioned the authority of the elders in her congregation, so that she get involved with a worldly person: my father. She was df'd when I was born. By the photos taken in that time, and some stories told by some relatives, my mother celebrated one birthday for me when I was two years old. Then, she was reinstated and began attending meetings. She became then a "hardcore" publisher, and took us (my brother, my sister and me) with her in the meetings. My father never got baptized, and never opposed my mother to being JW or taking us to the meeting.I became unbaptized publisher at the age of 12, and baptized at the age of 15.
The memories I have about that time were always an environment of total control from our parents and brothers inside the congregation. Influenced by this environment and indoctrination, I signed up for regular pioneer during two years. Those years were hard for me, since I was the only male pioneer from 10 pioneer sisters. The lack of love and comprehension from elders (one time they gave me counsel for not shaving my mustache!) discouraged me to continue pioneering. Due to economic constraints, I decided to find a full time job, despite the opposition from my mother.
The good thing above all was that in our family the education/school is considered something valuable. Although I was working full time, and attending the responsibilities as a publisher in the JW, I finished high school. But I was not fully happy with my achievements, and I enrolled in the university. During this time I met my wife. She came in the same background as me, but was raised in a complete "liberal" congregation (In Mexico is very common to identify the conservative and liberal congregations inside a city area or in the country. Mexico southern states are more conservative than northern). When we got married, we moved near her congregation. Here, I was promoted as MS and then as elder. I finished my bachelor degree in psychology (irony) during this time. When attending university, something was not sound good inside the org, but due to cognitive dissonance and fear to know the TTATT, I did not evaluate deeply my beliefs, although I learnt tools to be more critic and evaluate information during the stance in univ.
I had the opportunity to give therapy and counseling to many people as a part-time job, both inside and outside JWland, and here were I took notice about the high rate of depression, anxiety, obsession, and other mental disorders among JW's. Then, a new opportunity was given in one of the companies I was working to get a second bachelor degree in USA. In this time, my family (my wife and my son) moved to an English congregation (btw I'm so grateful to learn English because through this language I had access to more invaluable info and knowledge).
After finishing this degree, I started to listen some podcasts shows, specially from Olallo Rubio (a Mexican filmmaker and broadcaster from Mexico City) which influenced and helped me to develop a critic attitude toward authority, politics, religion, media, history, and music. Then, I was hired as a Adjunct Professor in a public university teaching Psychology courses. Sometimes I had commendations and criticism from JW's for my job. During this job, I finished my master degree in Educational Research, and the formation given there impressed me more in the way of evaluating information, and how important is the education for society.
In the mid 30's of my age, I experienced a midlife crisis. I entered in deep depression (caused by the fact of demand me perfection in my career and problems with self-steem) that led me in suicidal tendencies. I asked for help inside the org, but i did not receive it. Two times I wanted to finish my life. Here is when I started to question the "truth". Like three years I was dealing with my depression (I went to therapy and medications). In the meantime, I started to read CoC of Raymond Franz and the Gentile Times Reconsidered books. From here, I permeated deeply in the TTATT from different sources: internet (thank you jwfacts, this forum, jwsurvey), books published by JW (Finished Mystery), history books (Apocalypse Delayed), and so on. For this information, I started to fade out. By doing this, I started to see the life in a different way, with purpose. And my depression went down.
Actually, I don't go to meetings, field service, and assemblies.
In next posts I will expose more about my opinions about the JWland and what are my goals, because I want to be activist in the area I live.