Absolutely thrilled to give you the news that my younger brother, a zealous full-time pioneer has left the witnesses!!
I haven't seen or spoke to him in a year. I'd lost all contact with him, no Facebook, no mobile number, i didn't even know his address because he'd moved house. Today i received a text from an unrecognized number saying "hi [Pale.Emperor], it's [my brother]. Can you call me when you get this? I need to speak with you". I was in work but left my desk and found a quiet room and called him. He sounded really happy to hear my voice and asked if we could meet in Cafe Nero for a chat at lunchtime.
So i make my way there and i cant see him. I'm standing around looking for him, then some man i dont recognize waves at me. It was him. I didn't recognize him as he looks very different. He'd lost weight, was wearing decent clothes, and seemed really happy. This is the guy who, as a JW, was on anti-depressants, was overweight, and constantly banging on about armageddon and putting "the truth" first.
We hugged and i asked how he's been. He shown me some stuff he'd bought today all classical music related (he's obsessed with the violin and wasted his talent in the cult rather than pursuing it professionally). He told me straight away, "[Pale.Emperor], I've left the Jehovah's Witnesses." My heart jumped. I was so relieved. I told him that's great news and asked what had happened. I'll give you his reply:
"I was burned out. For years I've been reaching out, reaching out, reaching out, ministry every day, studying every day, answering up in the KH. In the end i literally couldn't do any more but they kept asking for more. In the end i had a breakdown. The family know but they didn't tell you. The elders came to see me in the hospital. They were nice and all but before leaving Bro. _______ asked for my ministry report for the month. I burst into tears right there in the hospital. The nurse had to tell them to leave. I didn't even want to be in the new system anymore because you had to do so much to get there. And it's not even a guarantee you'd get through even if you are a perfect JW. And there's these weird videos they're making now and now they're saying there's two classes of anointed people. Surely this is nonsense. Loads in our congregation dont talk about it. I dont think anyone actually believes it. Anyway, a week after the hospital i decided to kill myself. But i had a change of heart and saw my doctor instead. I told him about what lead me here and how I'm doing all i can for my god but it's never enough and i cant stand the thought of being alive anymore. The doctor suggested i take a holiday from it. Either literally go away for a week or just spend a week doing what i want to do. I did. A week became two weeks. Two weeks became a month. A month became two months and with every passing week i noticed i was getting happier. I haven't read a Watchtower in months and i feel so much "lighter". I work out, i watch comedies on TV that cheer me up, i go out and talk to people in cafes and libraries. And now i go busking with my violin. I have a license off the council and everything. I made £30 only yesterday. People came up to me and said my music is beautiful. I still believe in God, but i dont want to be in that religion anymore. I'm just going to live my life now and be happy. I'm a good person and i dont harm anyone."
I was so happy to hear this (well, not the suicide bit but you know what i mean). As you can imagine. I told him that once you stop reading their literature you do feel a little better as the weeks go on. I told him that whenever he feels down he should call me or even pop over to my house. We caught up about me, and whats new in the family. He told me that his congregation (the one i grew up in) is losing members. They dont even fill half the seats anymore.
I told him what to expect. "Concerned" elders visits, family pressure, my sister telling him he's going to die in armageddon (her favorite line). He's invited me to his new apartment this weekend. I'm going to help him through some personal stuff he mentioned that i wont share here as it's irrelevant.
But this is good news.
Well done Watchtower, you're burning out even your most zealous members.