I began my exit from the Jehovah’s Witness organization about 5 years. I was a 4th generation born-in, with all the baggage that comes with having the “spiritual heritage” attached to the group. I was an elder/bethelite/pioneer/whatever other useless privilege there was, I had no family or friends outside of the organization… my entire life was that org. I planned on actually “fading” so that I could keep the so-called friends and family that I did know, but after a few months of the faking I could not take it any longer. I was not capable of living my life as a member official or unofficial of that group so I decided to disassociate and cut all ties. It was frowned upon and viewed as a very dangerous step but I felt inside in my personal situation that I had to do it.
Initially, the decision seemed like a bad idea. My aging parents who were diehards were constantly lashing out, my brother tried to ruin my life, old congo members in my small town saw me constantly and it felt awful being alone initially. My wife eventually left because she saw how quickly her “loving” family members turned on her now that her elder husband was gone. Having her support and that of my children was all I needed to maintain my sanity… but there was still the loneliness of lost friends and most importantly my parents.
During the few years following my exit I began to receive a lot of contact from other brothers and sisters who were still going but doubting! I foolishly/impulsively sent a facebook message to all of them the day I dropped of my DA letter that I was leaving because the religion was a farce and not because of some wrong doing. In hindsight I believe this message and the fact that I disassociated myself let many of them feel somewhat free to talk to me after the letter was read and to feel safe contacting me with their doubts.
Anyway, yesterday I get a letter from who a man that I thought was my die hard father who I thought would never speak to me again, this particular excerpt from it really makes me proud of what I did eventhough that decision was hard:
“please do not share with your mother or brother that I sent this because frankly I am too old to deal with the consequences. I want you to know that first and foremost that I love you. When you left I was very angry because I knew I would lose you. Not because of god killing you, but because I knew that my own lack of backbone would not let me break the rules and be with you. I felt you were selfish but I really wished I was strong enough to do it to. I never told anyone but I don’t believe anymore but at this age what option do I have? Your mom says you will come back and everytime she says it I smile inside because I know you won’t. She always tells people you were to prideful and she is not surrised you did this. I am so proud you have a backbone. I love you so much and miss you all the time. I want to keep typing the same three words to you over and over hoping you will believe me. Im just not strong PAUL. I hate myself for it but I want you to know I love you and I am so proud of you for being strong enough to be yourself. Know I love your *my wife* and my grandkids more than you know especially my namesake *my son who I named after him* so much. Typing this makes me so sick from hurt that I am not strong enough to do what I want but please know I love you. I love you son so much I love you so much…
Maybe I have shared too much? Either way I thought this might be a nice place to leave this because it really made me feel that much better about my situation.