How to start....
I think it would be a good idea to start a thread with suggestions on how to start a journey away from the W.T. Obviously circumstances are different for each individual.
My advice is:-
a) Fade gently but with the objective never to return.
b) My opinion on beliefs and theology is that if they are not verifiable and relevant to your everyday life then set them aside for now.
c) If you have spent your life sincerly believing your ministry was helping in the most important work beiing done on the earth, then I would would suggest simply by being ethical in speech and action, will effect others in a positive way evangelizing as a J.W never could.
d.) as for Armeggedon, that's simply control by fear. This fear is why many generations of JWs, have missed their whole life. However if you try living in the moment, you might find that living in this life can actually be quite fun. So instead of being so fixated with the W.T future, why not try a little self-centred perspective?
Another option for those who can stomach the fading/faking route (it takes acting skills and putting up with being pressured back for quite a while), another option is to quit any and all activity abruptly.
Politely but firmly decline any meetings with elders.
Tell friends and family nothing unless they initiate the conversation and you're absolutely sure that the conversation will stay absolutely confidential. Otherwise you could tell them something along the lines of 'After careful/prayerful research/meditation I have concluded I can no longer in good conscience preach or attend meetings.'
This method has less negative effects than disassociating as people are at least allowed to talk to you. In practice many dubs will avoid you anyway. This happens when you fade as well, but it takes a bit longer with fading so that may be easier to adapt to.
Good points Anders.
I should clarify, my personal " fade gently" was complete non attendance, but to decline any explanation too anyone as to why I had ceased attending.
I think if it's deseased it should not be touched. Stop touching the unclean thing. But I fully understand if you use a slower strategy due to family ties. But the problem with the fade is such a loss of precious time.
Chook your avetor is of catweasel. ( I watched that as a kid)
Anyway I agree with your point, but I think the problem for me was Armeggedon an instinctive irrational fear I struggled to shake free from. Now I am pleased to say the fear of being controlled by Jehovers "loving" organisation, bought forth a mouse who is now able to exercise his own thoughts, and surprisingly many in my former congregation have an irrational fear of mice.
Thats was an interesting thought, ( I occasionally have them) when I faded I was feared by many in the congregation. The poor little mouse was actually free, and they the giant elephants were afraid of me a mouse and trapped in their cage.
how to start a journey away from the W.T. - although the plan might be to go to the meetings less and less, to do field service less and less, plan non-JW activities that will take up your new-found time more and more. Get hobbies, be interested in your wife's hobbies, talk to your kids and suggest activities for them, etc.
Once you get into that, you'll enjoy your life and it'll be easier to fade from the WTS.
Yes the best position when leaving is to have a life outside the watchtower to enjoy. Otherwise leaving is something like a ruderless ship. As for myself I had my football club, and my boy to share the obsession with. This worked great with getting the wife out, as she saw this wonderful relationship my son and I were having, and even if she could never share the football, she could see the wonderful family we could be outside of going to meetings and on service and then associating with people, many of whom we never really got on with anyway.
And most important of all, I think we both agree how lucky we are to now bring up our child outside of something he clearly hated. He is so much happier now. Made it all worthwhile. So many wonderful moments and love we have had that you simply can't have if you make a boy be something he doesn't want to be.
Depending on your immediate family circumstances eg. having parents, siblings that are in the Org and you therefore face the possibility of being shunned, it would be advisable, before leaving, to build up relationships outside of the Org. In other words have a network of friends, acquaintances, extended non-JW family etc that you can associate with.
Excellent points, The Rebel.
After all these years, I have just now gotten an even clearer perspective.