The contaminantion of years of being a Jehovah Witness.
interesting to see in myself and in many others here how no matter how
much we want it or wish it, we will never be able to erase all of the
mental contamination. In one way or another it will always be a part of
I've had many friends that have been out for many years say
"Well I can't do that it just wouldn't be right." Yes they are still
judging themselves and others. They are under some kind of law code. Of
course there are laws we must obey but there are many laws that are
handed down to us by are parents or religions that are really just a
matter of opinion and not laws at all.
"Contamination" seems like such strong word and makes me (I'm keeping this in I statements) feel like a victim. I prefer to see it in terms of "negative influence", which I believe is a better way of describing my experience with having that JW crap shoved down my throat since the day I was born.
Regardless of which term we feel comfortable using, I do agree that the influence of the WT is always going to be present in our lives. I for once, can't talk about my childhood without mentioning the JWs. I can't speak about my family without mentioning them, and those are only the tangible, identifiable things.
When I look at how many decisions I had made in the past after having left the WT without realizing that I was still under their influence, I started really analyzing everything I was doing, being and deciding. I realized that to me, my recovery from their negative influence is about minimizing it, not about eradicating it since I believe that's not impossible. That helped me gain perspective and see things in a more self-loving and realistic manner (I used to take it on me for not being able to get rid of their influence). It was a process, and not an easy (nor fast) one.
Regarding other people and the way they do things JW-ly, you remind me of one of my friends. He's as gay as I am, he never baptized, and in his 30s he had been away from the JWs for almost two decades. We were roommates, and as gay friends we used to talk what gay dudes talk about (and trust me, it wasn't bible related). He threw a Christmas party once, and we did a whole lot of "wordly" things as friends.
However, to my surprise, I decided to give him a gift for his birthday, and he told me that he couldn't accept it. When I asked him why, he gave me some JW nonsense about it. At first I truly believed that he was joking, but he wasn't. I did feel offended and threw at his face all the non-JW things that he has done. Then as I started knowing him better and learning about his own life I realized what the real issue was. Turns out that his mother was a JW when he was a little kid. He didn't grow up with his father, only his JW mother. Then he (nor his mother) didn't leave the WT when he was 10; his mother passed away when he was 10 and his new family weren't JWs, and he never set foot in a KH ever since.
So his refusal to accept the birthday gift had nothing to do with the WT nonsense, and everything to do with his respect and sense of loyalty to his deceased mother. That's the first lesson I learned about being sensitive when some people hold on to their believes, as irrational as they may be.
Time and time again I have posted about how may people completely neglect to see that behind the believes, doctrine discussions and practices there are a lot of feelings that we don't know about. For some reason many people here refuse to even acknowledge that fact.
My suggestion to you is let them be, be sensitive because:
- There are feelings connected to what they say and do and you have no idea what they are.
- There may still be in the process of separation themselves.
- There may be in denial about what they are doing.
- They may still be dealing with their doubts; it's not in black and white, it is a process.
- You may not know what a given practice or believe represents to them.