To Fade or Disassociate
I can very much relate to how your grandfather felt when the religion expected him to reject his blood relatives in favor of strangers.
This did not sit well with me either and I had a rude awakening many years ago on a Thanksgiving holiday when I was all alone like some idiot fighting a private war - meanwhile I could have been enjoying a delicious meal with people who were not judging me!
What a fool I was!
I opted to "fade" and this was one of several reasons I wanted out. Shortly after my "fade" I re-established contact with relatives and old friends before it was too late and this was priceless..
The zealots in the religion who wanted to isolate me from the only people who ever cared about me can go to hell - along with all the ones who criticized and ostracized me for having a full time job. I couldn't help feeling some people were mean or just plain envious....I'm glad I followed my gut and never listened to these people.
I had a talk with an old friend (who happens to be an elder). He said to me "why don't you just make it official?". The context was that essentially it would just be easier if they knew where I stood. My response was that I didn't wish to place my friends and family in that place. if they know that I don't attend meetings and wish to shun me, so be it. there is no mandate for them to do so, but if they chose to do it its on them. The ones that don't, are a bit more in the "real friends" category for me.
I have faded. I have done so in a way that the elders really don't want to come after me. It would be unpleasant, and create an enemy. It would be a lot of "work" and there are a few people that would "go down" with me.
I did this on purpose, so that if they saw me with my kid at halloween, they could convince themselves they saw somebody else.
in the meantime, since I am able to talk to people, I have been able to help 3 or 4 people out. It all started with a conversation I would NOT have been able to have, if I was disassociated. They would have shunned me before I spoke.
JW's are all about technicalities. Don't feed into this one. The DA letter means nothing. they will rob you of your dignity no matter what you do. Just live your life, and be yourself.
Quote from Finkelstein:
I've heard awful stories of adolescents who were still living with their parents be made out as big anti JWS which resulted in their parents forcing them out the home.
This isn't possible in California unless the head of the household obtains an "eviction" through the Court. Evictions are granted only for good reason. Unless the adolescent is aware that they're protected by the law they may not press the issue. 911 calls can be very helpful for an adolescent, or any other family member, who is being forced from their home by family.
I was already disfellowshipped when I commpletely woke up to their bull shit. I intended to try and get reinstated and then fade slowly, but in the end, that level of duplicity for such an extended period of time with my own family just wasn't something I could live with, so instead I was up front with my parents about what I believed and what I wanted, and they returned the favor by telling me I needed to find a new place to live.
Fortunately, I had already found a good place to live because I was honestly expecting it to happen. I now live among friends who accept me for who I am.
I was out, a fader , for about twenty years when on a whim I decided to disassociate myself from the religion.
I had no family left in except for a niece and I got it in my head that I would disfellowship the organization ,what did I have to lose .
I only had contact with a couple of other faders and nothing has changed and my niece only ever contacted us if she thought she could encourage us back into the religion with statements like " the bros,are really concerned about those that have left the truth " (nobody ever tried to get us back in ) and "their is so much love shown in the congregations now" and crap like that.
It made me feel better that I could ex-communicate them.
I accidentally faded. Lol. Got weighed down with sick kids and depression. Missed soooo many meetings. Not one person came looking for me in over a year and so I just didn't bother going back. Then I started to feel the fog lift and found I had many questions that should have been asked prior to baptism. What did I know? I was a kid and did it because my friends were doing it. No real idea what I was signing up for. So 2 years later I am awake and my spouse was like "about time. I have been saying this stuff for years". My sibling faded years ago so just mum I left in. We will fade to spare our family the problems that would come from us DA and so that if we run into ones we know out shopping they don't have to turn and run. Lol.
I'm faded now for 2 years. Quiet about my non beliefs yet lost many "Friends" after the spiteful ex i divorced spread rumors around that i was an apostate.
there are many witnesses that still speak to me and my immediate family have come around to accepting my faded status. Elders no longer harrass me. I live my life free.
there will be repercussions no matter what choice you decide. Expect to lose people regardless. Do what suits you according to your needs. As for me i still feeling fading was the best route. Those that still choose to talk to me can see that my life hasnt become a shattered mess and that i'm happy and thriving far removed from the borg!!
i hope the same will be true for you as well
Fade or Disassociate?
The results are often the same anyway nowadays. You will be treated like an outcast as the gossip and rumour mill goes into overdrive.
Eventually, all your "friends" will abandon you...
Hi Jules, when my husband and I left we believed the JWs had been the true religion but had become corrupt like ancient Israel. So at the time we thought the right thing to do was disassociate and try and find the 'truth'. Sometimes I've regretted it because I lost all my family and we lost all our friends.
However it was a clean break for us, we started a new life. We both studied for distance learning degrees, got proper jobs, bought a little house, had a child. There's a lot to be said for starting again. It cleared our minds and allowed us to read whatever we wanted and do whatever we liked. Nobody was breathing down our necks, judging everything we did because they didn't know. Nor were they trying to get us to return and confusing us with love bombing.
My family have shown themselves to be very mentally unhealthy because even though we made it quite plain we're never going back and we no longer believe in any religion or try and preach at them they still insist on treating me and my daughter as lepers. It's been twenty-eight years. So whatever my early religious life had been I would have had to find some distance from them eventually because they are so screwed up.
Your grandfather, on the other hand, sounds like a very mentally healthy person, leaving because the religion tried to make him put strangers before family. He's a really together person who recognises cult speak when he hears it. I'm glad you have him as support if all else fails with your parents.
I'm not telling you to disassociate by the way, just answering your question with my personal experience as you asked.