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.
Hola! I am so glad you made it through your depression okay. Hugs!
Reading Crisis of Conscience is what woke me up too! No wonder WT was was always screaming not to read it.
Looking forward to your posts.
PS Do you have any view points of the North American JW's coming down to preach in your country? Specially in the vacation spots? Swim and surf, drink and party, all the while pretending to be exemplary Christians?
PSS Activism is always good. You have so much to offer. Greetings to your wife and child.
Thanks for sharing. You mentioned that you want to be an activist. I think that's a great goal. Share more when you can.
Thank you LoisLane looking for Superman! Actually, the English field is relatively new in Mexico, and few American JW came down to preach in Spanish. The first English congregations were located in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and Mexico City, because there are big communities of US JW's there. And yes, the increase in English field has been noticeable in vacation spots like Guaymas, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta. The problem here recurrent is the conflict between cultures... brothers that come from NA are not well seen by brothers from Mexico, due to the liberal attitude regarding drink and parties. The brothers in Mexico are, apparently, more formal in the dynamics and liturgy in the JWland.
Ironsnake welcome. You have a very interesting story. I have seen Juarez from across the Rio Grande in El Paso. Hola from this side of the border. Glad the Asarco tower is finally gone.
I too felt the depression and anxiety melt away when I faded. Looking forward to reading your next story.
Edited to say: I haven't read your first post yet. My apologies for the late greeting.
Thank you for sharing your story. We're glad you made it through your own personal "crisis of conscience" and thanks to your education in human psychology, were able to find your way back to a healthy state of mind. Most JW's use the societies literature as their guide through these kinds of problems and end up prolonging their suffering and even dying.
Welcome! Thanks for sharing. Very interesting, I look forward to hearing more from you.
Interesting story. We have different religious backgrounds, but we share the same birth place. I was born and raised some 400 km south of Juarez. We also share a love for education and learning. I have read all those "apostate" books that you have read.
Regarding psychology, it never interested me until I did some research in my wife's religion.What a discovery on how the human mind can believe so much BS!! Now I value psychology a lot more than I did when I was taking my math and physics classes. Psychology may not be 100% objective, but is quite useful in understanding cults
How is el Noa, Noa?
Never a jw I'm taking physics too
Ray "Never a jw I'm taking physics too"
I took my last class 30 years ago, but I never stopped loving math and its favorite child, physics. For the last few years I have been relearning my math and physics to help my children. Unfortunately, for me, they both are off to college and their brains are running faster than mine.