Were You Close To Your Non JW Family?

by minimus 27 Replies latest jw friends

  • minimus

    I was thinking of how little I know about my father’s side of the family. I recently inquired about ancestry.com and I’ve come to the realization that even the closest sides of my family via my father, are unknown to me . What a shame that Jehovah’s Witnesses kept us apart.

    I wonder how many Witnesses who were raised in the religion feel as I do. By the way, I was reading the local obituary and realized today that my cousin passed away from cancer. She was my dad’s sister’s daughter. I barely knew her.

    if you aren’t a Witness, the view is—-why would you WANT to get to know them? They’re going to die anyway.

  • Simon

    No, we saw them occasionally (often at my grandparents house) but they were and are mostly a mystery to me.

    We actually know some of our friends' families way more than our own, isn't that bizarre?!

  • flipper

    I was very close to my non-JW grandparents. My parents didn't become JW's until they were in their mid 20's . My non-JW grandfather taught me how to fish as a boy and how to swing a golf club at age 14 on the driving range. We talked baseball, and were really close. Same as both of my grandmother's, they were always interested in what us JW grandchildren were doing- in spite of us being JW's.

    Fortunately my JW parents didn't avoid their non-JW parents and I got to know them well. In fact, I give major credit to the man I am today to both sets of grandparents and give credit to my JW mom - who never shunned me when I finally left the cult. I've have been able to get to know my 1st cousin now these last few years , a non-JW , and we get along great.

    I always experienced much more authentic caring and love from my non-JW relatives than I ever did from my older siblings, or other JW relatives. None of my JW family ever calls me to see how I'm doing, I've always had to call them. Then they act really put upon or bothered that I called. It disturbs them that this non- Christian sibling of theirs could ever act more " Christian " than any of them. They can sit on their thumbs and rotate for all I care.

    I'm not going to lower myself to their level of behavior just because they want to be assholes. I'll take the humane and peaceful route. I don't pursue their friendship but every 3 to 6 months I'll call to see how their health is. My mom would have liked me to do that, so I occasionally check on my siblings. Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • flipper

    Oh, and by the way, I do research on Ancestry.com and I've gone back 500 years on both sides of my family , if you get a chance to do it Minimus, I highly recommend it. Fascinating experience.Peace out, great thread by the way.Flipper

  • exjwlemming
    Before my family became Jdubs, we use to see my family a lot. We would visit my local aunt, uncle, and cousins almost monthly. We would drive about 6 hours to visit other aunts, uncles, and cousins. We even went on holiday trips together at times. We visited family in Florida, Wisconsin, and Texas. After their conversion and for the next 25 years, I can count on my hand the number of times that I saw family. It was usually for a funeral or wedding (only the reception or wake because the church was evil). I have 2nd cousins that I had never met. I probably would not have recognized my first cousins as well. It is sad how the WT encourages separation between unbelieving family members except when you should try to convert them. I regret those 25 years of indoctrination.
  • minimus

    Back in the 50s and 60s anyone that was not a Jehovah’s Witness was taboo. And the fact that my father and mother were divorced broke any opportunity to get to know the other side of the family. Plus they were not good association. LOL

  • Finkelstein

    Sorta but as its been noted non-jws family were still worldly people so JWS instinctively keep these people at a distance by conscious instigation of the WTS.

  • days of future passed
    days of future passed

    The most presents we ever got, was from the worldly side. I felt guilty but glad to get them. I knew my mother's mom the best. My father's side was like a gypsy's family - always a little crazy and dangerous but we did get to see them on and off thru the years.

    But, because of my dad saving my brother from the JW religion, he is actually like a distant relative. We had little contact with him since he was living a real life and acquiring friends so now, it's difficult to have a lot interaction in his life.

    Everyone outside of the bubble of JWdom always had that feeling of "okay they may be nice, but I shouldn't get to close to them"

  • minimus

    Such a shame to realize how deeply the religion affects your life!

  • Dunedain

    Its funny because i was just thinking along these same lines, the other day. My sister and i were raised in the "truth", so naturally, our close "family" became the friends at the congregation, NOT our real blood family.

    My Father and Mother were the only ones who became JWs, and in turn raised us, but nobody else on my Mother or Fathers side, were JWs. My Father became an Elder when i was very young, so he jumped in head first.

    Mind you, on both sides, my Mom and Dad, both came from large Italian American families. While my Father was an only child, he had tons of Aunts and Uncles, and cousins, and my Mom was one of 3, plus Aunts, Uncles, cousins. In theory, my sister and i should have had a HUGE extended family, from both sides. Instead, we were very rarely involved with our "worldly" family.

    They were looked at, and thought of as being in the world, with nothing to offer us, and we were most likely looked at as the weird religious family of 4. Yes, over the years we saw certain family members here and there. We would visit my Aunt and first cousins in Florida during the summers here and there. My Grandmother would have her get togethers with family and we would be there.

    That being said, there was always an unspoken wedge, of "Us and Them". We were the ones who didnt exchange presents. WE were the ones who didnt celebrate birthdays, and holidays. Looking back, you realize that all the extended family members probably didnt completely understand why, and different opinions could, and did form. Some might have thought my Father was cheap, for not buying his kids gifts, some that we were rude, some might have thought we were in a Cult, some might have thought my sister and I were being deprived, who knows, really.

    I look back now and think, maybe these family members, that we were not allowed to get close to, because of the Cult, could have directed or impacted my life in ways i will now never know. Most of the family are older now, and have passed away. We just buried my Fathers last Aunt, which was the last sibling of my Grandmother, that was alive.

    My Father, also, getting up there in age, has really seen the Borg for what it is, a CULT, and i think even now he realizes that years and moments were lost with family that WAS blood, and instead those years were given to a CULT ,and to people that PRETENDED to be family, but instead were conditionally there, as long as you looked the part, no true love.

    Its a shame.

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