Very welcome. I'm happy I came across your post.
Very welcome. I'm happy I came across your post.
You're asked a lot of very thoughtful questions.
I've sent you a PM with my own thoughts on these issues.
Libby, take a deep breath and prepare to do lots of reading. The JWs have you only when you accept they are god's instrument. You'll get a lot of help here, disregard those who are unkind, if anyone is. I found this site many years ago and it was an enormous help.
As others have wisely said already, RESEARCH, and educate yourself about the JW organisation...and the bible itself.
As you do, you will learn to let go of the FOG, which stands for FEAR, OBLIGATION, GUILT.
All aspects of being raised in a high control group result in us having such FOG deeply ingrained. This is toxic, and needs to be seen for what it is.
My advice would be to focus on peeling back the layers of indoctrination for a while before you start looking to join another group/religion/belief-system. There's no rush - take your time. The JW indoctrination that time is short can linger even after you lose your fear that armageddon is imminent. Spend some time on introspection, and examine your beliefs and why you believe them. Follow each one to its ultimate source and if the foundation of some belief turns out to be that the cult is true or based on something the cult told you, set that belief aside for reevaluation later. Get to what you know is true and then start building your way back up from there.
While you're doing this, try things that you couldn't as a JW. Maybe instead of prayer, try meditation. Have a birthday party. Develop friendships with normal people. Watch bad movies and sleep in on saturday morning. Try things you've always wanted to, and things that make you uncomfortable at first.
Between introspection and experimentation you'll start to find things that give you meaning and what (if anything) you want to believe going forward.
Welcome to the forum.
There is no need to go anywhere. This is Just another form of threat from cults, for people who wish to leave.
Baptism is a an ancient ritual that locks you in a religion and makes you a slave of it. Nothing more. When I was baptized I never felt the Holy spirit (Even anytime thereafter in all my 11 years as a JW) because this Holy spirit and stuff are all just imaginations.
I quit praying during the last few years as a JW because I realized that prayer is nothing but talking to ourselves. Nothing is as ineffective as Prayer.
Do a research about religions that you are inclined to, and you will know the truth. Just live your life. Make others and yourself happy. Life would be fulfilling.
Libby you have been hard wired to believe these things by your parents and because of your association on and off with the JW's. You were fed these beliefs as a child and obviously they still influence you even though you have discovered........ the truth about the truth (TTATT).
What you are experiencing is called:
: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously
When we break with our set beliefs we experience dissonance. Most everyone that believed in a high control religion or cult experiences this. It's upsetting and painful.
The Jehovah's Witnesses....... because of the WTBT$... is a small thinking high control religion. They have a history of being reckless with the health and welfare of their followers. Be it discouraging higher education or their ban on a life saving blood transfusion or their wish for Armageddon......... which if they are to be taken seriously.....means the death of billions of innocent men, women and children. Let me take that a step forward.......... It also means the death of unborn children. Is this the' greater power' you need in your life.
"The hope that a greater power is out there and wants to help life get better"......is a trap. What has made life better is science and moral ethics, empathy and caring for humanity. Not nasty religious beliefs.
If you need religion in your life even if it's only a bridge....... try other local church's .......look for one with a women minister........ usually that indicates that church is more open. Just a thought.
You feel lost because you can no longer find comfort in a set of beliefs. You now need a new set.
Let me ask you this what have you done for your local community?
In the JW world view you don't participate in the community other then peddling the JW products.
There's a ton of great people, places and cause's in the real world....join them and experience the good that's out there.
I think that most of us have gone though the feelings you are having at the moment. And to be truthful, I don't think that there is an easy answer to your/our deeper questions. However the analogy used often here is the Matrix Red or Blue pill problem. Is it better not to know Truth and live in happy ignorance .... or know the real Truth but be tormented by it? Most people prefer to be ignorant. But for me personally, i have to know. But that's just me.
I think you need to reinvent yourself and find a new purpose.
I have been out since 83 but I still pray.
I pray the Lords prayer.
Maybe its just something I do an old habit.
But I am still alive and thankful and functioning.
You ask where do you go now? Well go where your heart leads you. Enjoy the ride. Look under rocks, explore. Give your life meaning and purpose.
In this life your life is what you make it. If your life is not that great than make it better.
If you think your life is not that great that sound like you are depressed and if you are depressed the cure for depression is to get up and get moving.
You become what you think about. If you think you are poor you become poor. If you think you are rich you become rich. If you think you are happy you act and become happy. If you think you are sad you act and become sad.
That is the greatest secret of life.
Hi Libby and a big welcome!
I left after a lifetime of being a JW. Daughter of an elder, wife of an elder, mother of 2 elders etc etc etc.
I felt a huge hole which I decided to replace with a huge "whole".
By that I mean I decided to take this opportunity of being out or in between or whatever I was, as a time to look at everything and I do mean everything!
I told myself I would give myself the gift of a year to explore without consequence.
Ah freedom to think!
As a JW, I thought I was a thinking person but it was such an illusion. NOW I am becoming a thinking person. Finally.
As to baptism, one interesting point concerning that topic as it relates to Jehovahs Witnesses.....
Isnt it interesting that they stress that is completely necessary but then if you are ever disfellowhipped you are still baptized? Or if you go inactive - you will most likely die at the Great Armageddon of course, but! You are still baptized.
So what facet of all the Jehovahs Witness steps to redemption and salvation are they really concerned about? Is it baptism? Is it the ransom sacrifice? Is it avoiding disfellowshipping? Is it staying active according to their definition?
I eventually came to see (I wont bore you with all my research) that baptism as well as other things, have been co-opted by ALL religions to bind people to the religion.
Separating out "God" from "religion" was a fascinating journey for me. A little like pulling out a splinter...painful at first but boy oh boy it makes everything so much better afterwards!
As for prayer, I put that in the category of meditation and other techniques to raise awareness and use our reflective capacities. Whether prayer is "heard" or not - if it is useful - do it.
That is part of the beauty of being free to find your way now. As to the scary part (all that freedom with no defined boundries) you have this place to read at and ask questions.
When you come here, you will get advice from some of the sincerest people I have ever met. They will approach your concerns from every angle possible and in the doing of that, you will find things that are exactly what you need and useful for your unique situation.
Reading here I constantly feel I am standing on the shoulders of giants.
So enjoy your process my friend.
I want to give you a quote I love, because it speaks to the amazing potential that is around us, maybe you will like it too.The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Bertrand Russell