An incredible and yet not surprising story.
The convoluted tale you told was about your life and the impact the JW's had upon it . As real and painful as it was, when time passes and you step back form it, you will realize that everything that happened to you was much ado about noting...caused by a bunch of nobodies who were taking advantage of your inexperienced and trusting youthfulness and abusing their power.
It's amazing how we once allowed these people to not only influence our lives and intervene in our personal relationships but also allowed them to enforce their man made organizational rules on us as if they had any real authority.
Glad you got out of there and out of that mess. It was all so unnecessary but like so many of us it had to happen in order for your eyes to be opened . Better now than later.
I live in Utah, so I can't get a medical card here. I have non-JW family in Canada. I'm strongly considering moving there soon. The hard part is being far from my daughter, but I have faith that as she grows, she'll make the decision that is best for her and makes the most sense.
And just another overall comment about the elders... I truly believe JW's could be a very good productive religion. To me, its ironic that JW's are so well trained to use the scriptures in the ministry with "worldly" people, but among the congregation, they primarily focus on what THEY have written. It's a direct parallel to the pharisees and scribes that judged Jesus for not following THEIR written laws.
dantoole87 I also believe that the elders can be good if they wanted to truly reflect Jesus love towards the flock, I'veknown about Jehovah my whole life and trusted the elder arrangements , so when my son that committed sin, confessed to me I wholeheartedly told him go to elders they will help you and since your repented and want help they won't desfellowship you, he was just 18 and these men have known him since he was 4 yrs old they knew he was a good kid , he came out crying from the judicial committee he was getting dfd. He said when they were done they said "there's the door", I'm in tears still every time I think about this, so that year very difficult my son graduating high school no friends to hang out with , all his friends in kingdom hall, I received so much love by so many on this site, even a few wonderful people went out of their way giving me telephone number and email . Just one advice to you try to stay close to your daughter as much as possible this way you show her what love truly is
Your tale is very comprehensive, dantoole87. You capture very well the pettiness and over-lording of elders. But you are not alone in representing this issue. That is why I would disagree with you on one statement:
"JW's could be a very good productive religion."
Their entire platform is conducive to all that you describe happened to you. If there are people still in it, it is because they're either masochistic or are still brainwashed. I liken saying it's a good productive religion with saying the plague is a good and productive disease because it kills the weak. There is nothing redeemable about that religion. Are there good people in it? Sure. Can some people in it do good works? Yes. Can they even promote good values? Absolutely. But so can the rest of the world, atheists and Flat-Earth believers, Shintoists and Xtians, famous people and the vast unknown sea of individuals. The operative word here is "PEOPLE." When it starts to muddle up into an "organization", it's time to run.
By its very structure, the congregations end up being currupted either by all members or by a few with delusions of power. They end up turning into, as you describe, "assholes" and "yes men." Still, it's a pity that you had to experience all you have and I wish the best for you as you move forward in life.
You managed to revive in me the same anger you feel when looking back at the experiences we share with elder assholes and super-fine brown-nosers. It's been a while for me, but I've mostly shed my fury at those people. Although I wish they'd disappear from the face of the Earth as an organization, their works will eventually catch up to them. All the best to you in your endeavors.
Come back to atheism... you know it makes sense...
Nah, only kidding! Do whatever seems right to you and makes you feel good. :)
The only thing I would say is to study for yourself now. There are so many false teachings that have been inculcated into your brain as a JW that now subconsciously help to form your beliefs. JWfacts.com is a great place to start (if you haven't been there already) clearing out the lies.
I hope things work out for you!
This is my first post in this group. I see some parallels between us so I would like to make some comments.
My ex-wife did the same thing about body blocking doors, etc. It doesn't get better; it gets worse. My advice is to stay away but if you must visit with her, have someone else present. One phone call from her to the police will put you in jail. Your daughter will seek you out when she gets older. Go to Canada.
I can tell from what you've written, you are still thinking like a JW. That should go away with time, but firstly you have a lot of anger to work through.
Some elders are very nice people but they are hobbled with the JW's inane rules. You cannot reason with them. Don't even try.
I, too, compared them to the Pharisees and said so in my resignation letter, but, now I'm no longer a believer. It's amazing how much my life improved when "I" started to make decisions rather than leaving it up to chance (prayer).
Yes I do still think like a JW, but that is simply because it is who I am. It is the culture I was born and raised with and I'd rather accept the good with the bad rather than convince myself it was all bad.
I believe religion can be a tool for good. I know that JW's on an individual level are simply people trying to be happy and productive. But their system of rules and regulations go so far past the level of reasonableness. This is why I think that so many witnesses suffer inside. It's because they feel obligated to say the company lines and put on a happy face, knowing that they're all hypocrites. Because we all are hypocrites in the end. None of us fully live up to the standards and principles we claim to personally cherish.
Being a JW, though, puts you in a box where you have to constantly preach and rationalize that you have the truth because of your way of life, not just the teachings. They start with the small petty stuff and start judging from there. They are just like the pharisees that strain the gnat but drink the camel. The elders are the catalyst to the unacknowledged consternation caused in the congregations. They'll lie for their stag club before they'll do what's right by their own "bible based" principles.
One elder even told me that when I started coming back to meetings, the elders had actually asked me THEN if I smoked weed and that I denied it. It was a total lie, but one that I'm sure covered his ass and the asses of his fellow assholes. I knew they were unaware of me smoking weed and I was going to keep it that way. I can only assume that he lied about confronting me, simply because they wanted a good reason to mark down in my notes why they were so hasty in my judgement.
It's not about protecting the "flock." Its about protecting their petty little kingdoms that they rule. They know that the records are private and only seen by elders, so they have no conscience when it comes to being duplicitous in those remarks. I'm sure if I asked to see what my file looked like I'd get crickets. Like I said already, they love the double honor but they hate the double judgment. So they do what any petty power mongering man would do, they just lie and get each others back.
I called an elder friend of mine and told him about it all. His advice, just go back to meetings and know Jehovah will take care of it. He also referenced a friend that was unjustly df'd for 3 years, but they kept going to meetings! Good for his friend, but I refuse to accept the hand of Jehovah they preach. If you are a person of good character, then you'll act on an injustice. Especially if that injustice is being carried out by the men who claim to be leaders and example makers. God judges us based off how we choose to respond to injustices, not how much "faith" we have in him to take care of it.
Just like Jesus said, if you see your brother naked and hungry, of what benefit is it to him so say be well fed and clothed. That's the response I got when I made a personal cry for help. That and "go back to meetings." They would rather individuals suffer alone without any friends or family for a year than counsel an elder. But I guess these guys probably don't have much else going on in life, so why would they want their soap opera to end?
I had a real experience with God's spirit and I believe he is active in my life. But I have given up on trying to convince atheists that God exists. It's a non-sequitur IMO. You either experience God in your life or you don't. I'll never go back to creationism and I don't even know if I believe in an afterlife. It's a completely subjective experience that has enriched my life personally.
That being said, I still will listen to atheist podcasts and look for natural explanations to the world around me. I believe in a power that is greater than us. No labels, no special claims, and no magic incantations. I just know that this God exists and knows me personally. Because isn't that the frustrating part, when hardcore theists try to shove their subjective experiences down your throat?
@dantoole87: Would you mind PM, private messaging me please and giving me a private email address with your name from this site so that I might talk to you about something important?
My PM has not worked for a long time. I can read any PM sent to me but I cannot answer any from this site. I will answer you by email using my name here.
So sorry, Dan, it sounds like you have been through so many terrible life happenings. Your wife's family sounds messed up (put that together with a big head and a title) and that would always be plaguing you, but don't let it get your self esteem. Petty people like to put nice people down.
If you can take a break with your fam in Canada for a while, it will help you process things. I was a JW for 60 years, and when we had a pedophile in our hall I got to see another side to the WT. I found out things others are just coming to see. Look up the Australian Royal Commission, and their looking into JWs in that country. WT lawyers are not "righteous", they are lawyers, worse than 'worldly' lawyers, because they use every trick in the book and have no conscience about it.
Just take time to build yourself up, feel good, connect with people who love you. No one should have to have gone through what you did. Unfortunately, so many on this website have gone through the same things that you have. Your story is repeated the world over. It is not just one 'group of elders' or 'one congregation', it is an organization wide problem. It hurts people. Let yourself breathe.
Like Driveby said, maybe you should make sure you have a 'witness' (not a JW) with you when you visit your wife or daughter. Her family sound like the kind that will just make trouble for you and have no remorse.
The WT says one thing, and does another.... as you shall soon discover. Take care, and please let us know how it goes. You are a good person, who deserves to have a good life.