To Fade or Disassociate
I went down the fade route. In fact I began my fade before I even heard of the term. It was only when I joined this forum that I actually learnt of it ... lol.
As others have said, whatever you decide there will be consequences. At least with fading you will still have contact with friends and family, although some may choose to shun you.
The important thing is that you be true to yourself and live your life accordingly.
think also about the economics - here in the UK the gov expects us to rely more on our families to make ends meet at the bottom of the pile. so consider your economics before you decide - do you have enough earning power to live on your own to similar standards? cos if you are disfellowshipped you may find that your family ask you to move.
Jules, this is your crossroads and no one can tell you which direction is the best one to take. Just weigh up the consequences of your choice in the balance, and do what's best for you.
If you choose fading, then "cautious & innocent" should be forefront in your mind when in most J.W.'s company.
As for any loaded questions from elders and others, simply say "thanks for asking, but I can't discuss things at this time."
If you ever act bolshy/confident with elders, they may view your demeanour as a challenge to their "authority" and a "disrespecting of glorious ones." Avoid doing so if you want to fade. Take small steps as you travel on this road.
...However I do know that if you're caught breaking the rules, then it's possible to get disfellowshipped. And then there's disassociation, where you lose your friends and family only because you wish to no longer be associated with the organization. What have been your past experiences with this and what have you done? Fade? Disassociate? I'm not asking what I should do, just asking for what people have done and what works. Thank you very much.
My experience considers the fact that in my case I also needed to distance myself from my family. They were not very supportive people. So in my case it was easier for me to walk away without looking back. I decided that I can't care less about anything that they are, do or say. I wanted nothing to do with them. That meant that if "I got caught", as you put it, I couldn't care less since they [never] had a saying in my life and decisions.
I also know that they were a bunch of cowards and would never confront me directly, not to mention that probably they knew what awaited them if they dared approaching me with their Jehovah crap.
I believe that fading or disassociating should be a personal decision, based on the circumstances of each individual. However, here are a few things that I believe that decision should come about:
- Self loving - do what is good for yourself
- Well planned - either decision should be well though of, including visualizing your life after. Many people think that they are done by just breaking up with their congregation, without thinking about what to do with their lives once they lose that congregation crutch.
- Realistic - there's freedom from the Jehovah crap, but life is still life. Bad things happen, the world has an ugly side, and most importantly, your JW family are still as JW as they have always been
- Geography - it matters how much you see and bump into JW people that you know. I had four JWs working with me when I started fading, and I had 3 JW roommates too. It was a lot for me to send to hell at once. Part of my plan was making sure that I minimized my interaction with JWs, at least in the beginning of my fade.
- Dependence - Some people want out while still living with JW parent, or while they are still depending physically, financially or emotionally on JW family. Whatever is needed to take care of that properly (from moving out, to therapy, to family counseling, etc) is important before taking any action.
Just my two cents.
One more thing, part of your recovery from them involves not feeling "caught" when they see you.
I voiced concerns about the religion to my wife as I started my fade. It didn't help matters with her, so I went ahead and did a very quick fade- from resigning as an elder in August to completely inactive by April the next Spring.
I have a mother still in, and it makes a difference to her. It's easier with my in-law family of JW's to be faded instead of DF'ed.
I gave up the JW "friends" with only really one exception. My wife's best friend moved to the Caribbean and she doesn't treat me different because of my inactive status. But my own best friend distanced himself from me to "protect the family" from my apostate cooties. Some faders manage to hang out with JW friends, but it would have been too risky in my case (other than the wife's friend thousands of miles away). If I "fellowship," they may feel a need to "dis-fellowship." But not the case if I am not around.
I do what I want, my wife won't report me to them for sharing birthdays and Christmas with non-JW family and close friends. I go to ex-JW gatherings locally and even travel to Flipper's annual Tahoe gathering, but I am not really in-your-face about anything to my wife and certainly not to my mother. I could probably register to vote, but haven't bothered.
If I had children, I would probably have DA'ed and taught them about the vast difference between Mommy and Daddy's beliefs and how they should feel free to decide things for themselves instead of having Watchtower dictate everything.
If they "caught" me eating with DF'ed ones or celebrating dear old Dad's birthday and tried to DF me, I would write a legalistic "Doc Bob Letter" (see http://www.docbob.org/wordpress/letter-2/) that would probably make them stop. It would at least be a terrible burden upon them to pursue me. If, ultimately, they decided that totally inactive members should be DF'ed or DA'ed, I would pop in once every 5 or 6 months, dressed in Hawaiian shirt with no tie, and turn in 1-hour of "recruiting." I would arrive late and leave early too. They would hate me.
To accomplish the needed feeling of closure that disassociating might bring me, I had a private ceremony where I denounced my baptism, declaring that "they" withheld the entire truth from me about their failures and methods and that I was free to use the same types of deception and withholding of information from them in order to keep contact with my family. I burned Watchtower literature to counter their water ceremony with fire.
With Fading you get the best of both worlds if you want it and the satisfaction of knowing that you are controlling the situation and are befuddling their little power plays .
With Disassocating, you get to have your say and go down in a blaze of glory which would probably feel good, be more impressive and dramatic but I'm not a big fan of "burning bridges" unnecessarily. It's good to have options in life and be able to pick and choose your next move rather than have them cut off.
I would always suggest fading, especially if one has believing family. ... To d/a is to cut yourself off voluntarily. They are then obligated to shun you although it is the last thing they want to do.
Family may give you a hard time at first but eventually they will come to accept your position ..If the Elders do come after you for apostasy, why make their job easy? I would give them the hardest time I could and appeal , just to be awkward!
I spent many years pondering this.
My decision came on a very simple realisation; disfellowship, disassociate, or to be marked ... these are JW terminology, they are all JW doctrine, they are all part of the rules and regulations within the JW game.
I refuse to play along with their game anymore. To disassociate is to legitimise their rules, processes, doctrines....
It's all insignificant playground BS.... so just wipe it off your shoes and walk away.
All you can do is your best. You may find that you reach a tipping point; one where you can no longer endure the soul-crushing bull shit.
Actually, you will either reach that point and get out, or you will slowly die within the Borg. It's inevitable.
My advice would be to prepare for the worst. Educate yourself, become financially independent, stay out of romantic relationships with Dubs, and stay on the fringe until you are ready.