10 years on.....
I was a window cleaner, I was at the time unemployed, homeless. I had no education to be proud of (High school one A two B's rest C's) I was a Jehovahs Witness. I had been a pioneer. I had done much with the RBC for a good 6 years. I had been a bethelite.
So it was about this time 10 years ago that I asked to speak to my presiding overseer. 2 hours of theological concerns , crazy old doctrines, historical revisionism, sincere questions on following men who had been so wrong so often and never once right.....and the final nail in the coffin in our conversation....evidence that WT had been the majority owners of a military company called Rand Cam, a near silent rotary Diesel engine, developed with naval sponsoring.
The conversation began with "maybe Jehovah is going to use you and what you have discovered to 'clean house'" within an hour it had reached "you can't attend meetings and have these questions." The next day my closest friend at the time was told he couldn't be married in a KH if I was the best man (2wks later) ..... within a week friends were reporting back to me that they had been advised to stay away from me. Next it was that I was bitter with god/ looking for excuses/ gay and therefore would soon leave.
Most knew I had signed up to night classes and college. The last meeting I went to (I attended until I left for college) an elder mocked me for wanting to become a doctor. He had a huge sarcastic smile and asked if I really felt there would be a need for a doctors if I believed in God and paradise. I kept my thoughts to myself, smiled with sincere sadness in my heart for him and walked away. This was my last JW encounter at my KH. ( By the way my thoughts were that he was hedging his bets thinking that there would be a need for double glazing salesmen in 'paradise'... I also hoped that the irony of the universe never left him or his family needing my profession.)
It took about 5 years of studying the bible, world history, religious history, science, evolution, physics ....all in my own time before I felt comfortable with my world view. We don't know! As for morality, what's best for the group is best for the individual and by being good and at best contributing good back to society we are being moral. (I know, I know..what is good?...another day people!). If we work hard and are very fortunate me may contribute to developing humanity in some way can't think of a better life spent. A life of servitude and obeisance to a jealous, wrathful, genocidal, attention seeking deity..... was no longer for me. Neither was a life of ignoring myself, my heart, my mind in ignorant obedience of several uneducated, backward men in Brooklyn I would never even get to meet.
I honestly spent sleepless nights wondering where I would be now, 10 years on...
I feel secure in my worldview,
I have never lived so honestly, living true to myself and my feelings.
I live free of needless, unhealthy guilt.
I live free to ask, to seek answer and most beautifully....
I live a life where it's ok to say "We don't know."
I have a healthy group of real friends.
I have a wonderful relationship with an amazing girl 😍
I feel fulfilled.
I feel I'm no longer wasting my life.
I'm a qualified doctor, currently A&E/ER doctor and about to be an ICU doctor.
Im respected and appreciated.
I have actually saved people's lives.
i have made some people's lives better.
I'm happy ☺️
Ten years on..... I have no regrets! None! Zero! I do not think for even a shred of a moment that I left any 'truth' behind in the witnesses. It is a dangerous mind altering belief system that dilutes your cognitive ability to reason. It denied so much knowledge and resource and pours into that gap worthless, bias, uneducated opinion. It is VALUELESS.
I made many wonderful friends who were deeply religious. In the outside world it is so evident that beautiful, friendly, loving, happy, charitable people exist everywhere! The JW's not only do not have the monopoly on being good, moral, happy people...... you soon realise why they hate the phrase "nicer/happier/friendlier than a lot of brothers and sisters" ....because it doesn't take long to see how unhappy, judgmental, conditional relationships with JW's are. They are a lovely people, but they are stressed, tired, guilty, uneducated, struggling and constantly feeling unworthy all the while trying to ignore that desire to read/research/delve into their inner beings real doubts and questions.
Please don't be offended by my reference to uneducated. A small minority of JW's are educated. But we all know higher education was heavily frowned upon. A 2009 PEW study of religious groups had JW's as the poorest and least educated! Nobody wants to be considered uneducated .... it doesn't however mean unintelligent! There is huge potential in most JW's for sooooooo much. They just fear what they will lose and so choose pioneer over Princeton!
How sad that JW's and even Ex JW's often get offended at this issue, most would never deny that education was in reality frowned upon and that most declined it and yet .....who would honestly deny that education in any form when worked hard with is anything less than awe inspiring, amazing and life changing, I find it so sad that many I grew up with and still love were and are denied such stunning truths about life, the universe and importantly, developing the tool kit to decipher truth. Worse than this they get angry at the perceived insult of being 'uneducated'......It's not an insult, it was a human right denied to us!
I lost a lot, but you soon realise the value of what is only available to you with condition that you give up your heart, mind, freedom and life,
So please, if you are now waking up....if you have children.... if you have loved ones... GET OUT.
Most of my family ten years on are out.
For the sake of any children wasting years and years to a cult.... just go. For your sake....just go!
There is NOTHING to be gained by staying, you are just prolonging contact with a toxic belief system and spending minutes, hours, days, months, years..... you will NEVER see again.
Leave.........who knows where you will be in 10 years time?
(P.s. I left that meeting with my PO so relieved and smiling. I remember this yet I remember being shocked that I was happy and not scared.....however there was now no more confusion. No more internal conflict! The elders did not fall to their knees in shock or surprise at my questions and evidence, they didn't beg me to stay whilst we all researched and prayed.... they asked me to leave! .... how could it be the truth?... 25 years of wondering came to a crescendo and ....I found myself smiling... because now I knew... it couldn't be true! I saw behind the curtain and I was asked to leave.)
One of the best posts I've read in a long time. Thanks
S&R, thanks for the update. Your story is inspiring!
Great post. You should be so proud of what you have accomplished. I am sure you worked very hard for what you have. You wrote so much that needs to be said. Thank you.
I would love to be a fly on the wall if that asshat brother who mocked you came into the ER, needing your skills. Oh the smile on your face would be priceless.
I love your post S&R, I am also going on ten years after leaving and I have no regrets. I feel happier and have a feeling of satisfaction that only comes when you know you've been true to yourself. No artificially created guilt trips.
Thanks for the nice post.
The second meeting I had with two elders at my house dealing with my concerns with the blood issue, they said things like if you want to leave it's ok. One of them had left the baptists so he said he understood. They were being all buddy buddy while trying to tell me it was ok to leave. What a joke!
Amazing story! Congrats!
I had a presiding overseer as a patient once. I was shocked at the change in dynamics. This was someone I feared, respected, held high, as a youth. Here he was, a spiritually confused, conflicted man. I could see his bemusement at me, I had left and yet I was successful at life, to the point where here he was seeking my care and knowledge. At one time he had all the answers. In his greatest time of need he had few too many. At one point he gave a plea to the life of the JW's and momentum of the organisation, but even as the words were coming out of his mouth, the new social dynamics just diluted what he had intended to proclaim proudly..... to a weak sales hype and empty rhetoric. It was palpable to us both. Maybe once upon a time, hearing that a religion had a brand new website and app for an iPad may have convinced me it was special. Now, it just seemed sad and a little pathetic. The sadness came from HIS evident realisation mid sentence that this really wasn't the amazing golden, shining flash of evidence that indicated gods favour on the JW's that perhaps he thought it was prior to voicing it to someone now outside that biased world. He wasn't an unintelligent man and it was an interesting encounter. I have no doubt it didn't alter his views one bit. Hence I left and he did not.
It was very sad and eye opening. I was incredibly respectful and never once replied, or discussed any element of the JW's. It was my turn to politely smile and shepherd him to health and I did so professionally.
I'm so glad you're happy S&R. Really pleased that you're respected as a doctor and you have great friends and a wonderful relationship. I also am overjoyed that a well-educated person like you has the world view where it's okay to say 'we dont know'.
You've always come across as a very humble sincere person so good luck in your life and thanks for your inspirational story.
Great post - wow - what an inspiration you are. I don't even know you but I can tell that you are an impressive person! Best of luck to you going forward - and...I'm especially impressed that you were able to exit with a lot of dignity and peace. Not everyone has the self control and class to go out like that. Well done good sir!