Well, Once you get baptized, the elders do have power to kick your ass out of the organization, As a result, you will experience shunning, etc... I am not df'd. I do have some contact with my JW family. I prefer to keep it that way for now.
"Inactive" non Attenders, how much power do the JW's have over YOU ?
Since my parents have passed on, I really don't care what the local dubs know, although I don't go around with sandwich board strapped to my back, I just live my life now.
I am careful around the JWs just because of my mother, but once she is past the point of caring (sadly, she has dementia, which is a progressive thing) I won't care at all.
Funny thing, here locally the JWs just seem.....worn out. Everyone is older, has problems, is too poor (with all the fun that entails) to seem to care. I was really worried about this earlier, but not as much now. I'm not really trying to act like I'm doing anything, beyond taking my mom to meeting on Sundays. I read my tablet while I'm there, no one has noticed.
They have more power over my life than they would have if it were up to me. Unfortunately, my wife's family, even though they know we were wronged, are one misapplied scripture away from shunning us and she doesn't want that to happen. Consequently, we have to filter our facebook posts, censor ourselves when talking to them and pretty much let anything they say just slide on by. This irks me to no end because I'm the type who can't stand playing other people's games or pretending to go along with things I don't agree with. This is especially difficult when they make condescending remarks about non JW's or use some shortsighted JW form of logic that has more holes in it than Sponge Bob.
Thank you all for your answers, so many of us are still somewhat curtailed by the JW Org, me included.
I think carefully about what I say in front of them, don't swear too much, and don't talk religion etc.
I think as well the subtle, in the back of my mind thought, that they may still, after all these years, take some action against me, means that they still have some power over me.
But I suppose we cannot change the past, the fact that we once were JW's.
It feels to me though a little like someone who has a Criminal Record, always aware that one false step could get you in trouble. I wish they did not have that power over me.
More power than I would like also, partly because my husband is still in and I now realize that it is somewhat stuck in my brain. I hate it but I have stepped back and realized that when things go wrong or I do something like vote or send a birthday card or whatever I still feel like I have broken some law and feel like I am going to be caught.
It is totally crazy but at least I am acknowledging it, I think for so long I was lying even to myself that it did not affect me but growing up in it from the age of zero till I work up in my 40's it is stuck in my head and it just does not go away unless you realize it and work on it. That is my new goal.
Also to make friends that support me, when I first realized ttatt I panicked and jumped to ex JW and anyone who would befriend me. That turned out to be not so good as many ex JW are missed up also, I realize now that I need to slow down and respect myself instead of trying to get approval from other, like I felt I needed to in the JW world.
In person, I keep myself in check around JW relatives, until they start sending out subtle and not-so-subtle comments that would be the equivalent of Preaching™.
Like my mother recently made a jab about how the RC explained that "evolution couldn't possibly be true, because creatures would have had to evolve into males and females in order to reproduce". Yes, they seriously said that.
So I just said, "When the doctor tells you to take a full course of antibiotics so as not to contribute to the bacteria becoming antibiotic resistant, do you listen? If you do, then you accept this aspect of evolution."
Then she talks about the weather.
We are grateful they are no longer hounding us. Evidently, the local elders have "written us off". We don't hear from them. They don't call at our door or call our phones. (We wouldn't answer anyway.) We don't avoid JWs. We greet JWs that we know when we see them in the store or a restaurant. We attend funerals of old JW friends that die and visit casually with all there. We don't bring up "negative" things. We don't "stir the pot". We mind our own business and we are happy that they keep their nose out of it.
So I'd say their power over us is limited to the fact that we do not do more "active" campaigning against the WTS. We are not outspoken when "those kind" of subjects come up. We are not willing to force the issue and have them resurface to hound us. We do try to plant seeds.
Our kids are "out". Most of our close family is at least "mentally out" though some are faking it for the social aspect of it all, or to keep peace in their immediate family. I'd say we have taken their power away. DOC
They can still come at you even years after you leave. In April of this year, 8 years after I stopped attending one of the elder's who loves pedophiles, and I mean really likes them and supports them, wants them to go door to door insists that they be allowed to go door to door, though come to think of it I have never seen him take them but only insist that I do oh yeah this yahoo dose not even go out that much himself, well this prominent elder even if he hardly goes out in service, called up out of the blue and started in again.
Really 8 years. It was and just just mind blowing. My feeling on accepting pedophiles, baby rapist, men or women who harm children has not changed, so why the HELL was he calling, just to fight over it again.
This religion has caused me so much pain it is unreal.
LITS, I take it that his children or grandchildren have not been molested yet by such people, yet?