I made a post (comment) on a board of a few people before H20 was in full force - about 1998-99. I'd put in a search for xJWs and nothing around probably before '98/'99. There was some site where I'd made a comment about the religion and replies seemed clueless re/JWs and surprised to hear. Then H20 was created one day -- the hwy. to reality. There may have been one other site before this one (JWN which is best ever/so grateful for Simon) and after H20 -- anyone know?Wow! That is amazing history right there! So if someone woke up in 98, they would have found NOTHING online??
What was the EXACT exJW website you first visited and why EXACTLY did you visit it?
I didn't trust anything I read on websites, but I googled and used websites to get information to verify. I forgot where, but found a link that had pdf downloads of every WT, Awake, etc, back to when it first began. Seeing in print what was quoted and it being very accurate. Then I also looked up the real story about Rutherford and his takeover, found the sifting brochures, etc.
I came here first, looking for an electronic copy of Shepherd the Flock book. I was burnt out and needed to get off the elder hamster wheel, but knew I needed a copy of the secret rule book in order to protect my family. While I was here I read Simon's and Farkel's stories and could clearly see myself leaving completely. Before that I could not imagine being anything but a zealous witness. Later, the TPT tirade really woke me up and then I dove into jwfacts and read CoC.
ILoveTTATT2 -- Thank you for your kind reply/I appreciate you didn't go off on me and yell -- (like another poster when many of us misinterpreted his question/WOW! -- and I thought many JWs were rude!) when I realized I didn't answer your question as to which "EXACT" website (I don't know it was nothing structured in format like H20 or at all like JWN -- think it was just a general/problem-type message board) nor answer "why EXACTLY"!
Thank you for being kind and allowing slack -- I need it today but why I was searching around (it may have been earlier when first PC computer was in our home -- and I had techy-child-student always having to get the latest computer so probably as early as 1994. I had huge doubts even first visit to dumb hall and couldn't stand the hypocrisy and evil and realized it was nothing but a big sick click. I couldn't even think about god when I was trying to understand/comprehend, duck from all the evil of JW cult.
Can’t remember exactly, it was 1999/2000 and some of the first I read included:
Reachout Trust (in particular the forum)
Beyond Jehovah’s Witnesses (I don’t think this exists any more)
Carm (an American countercult website)
JWD (this forum, as was)
But actually more important were some of the pro-JW sites I was visiting at the time: Jehovah’s Witnesses United, Heinz Schmitz’s “theology” website, Great Crowd forum, Brenton Hepburn (what happened to him?), In Defense of the New World Translation, and more.
I think it was e-watchman, and I still don't get what that's about. But then it was freeminds and that opened things up a lot!
I remember visiting FreeMinds and a few others like Kent's and there was a pro-witness board that was fairly locked down (of course).
I found the rational exJW sites more valuable where they were providing proper information. There were lots of whacky conspiracy theory type ones that made too much of hidden images in literature (some were legit, others I think wishful thinking).
I came here first because I searched for a forum. I've always loved reading and posting on them.
Why did I come here? Because I was so fed up with the bull in the cult and just had to see what those apostates were saying. Lo and behold, they were seeing much the same things that I was. I was blown away. I remember telling my wife that if apostates were crazy then I must be one because these people see the same things I do. They aren't making things up.
Much to the chagrin of some on here, I've stuck around. I've learned a lot here and always wanted to help others. The personal stories were always the biggest draw for me.
I think it was the Watchtower Lies website I first stumbled across back in 2008. The plagiarized front covers and pictures that were clearly stolen and originally from other's work showed me Watchtower might not be as squeaky clean as they claimed.
I was then shocked by the Jimmy Swaggert story as I remembered literature becoming donations only and finding out the real reason that changed disappointed me. Why they had to spin it into something it wasn't I have no idea.
607 was next and I also came here but it all seemed too brutal and I found a much more gentle UK site which you had to pay to join. I met quite a lot of the members from that site and we met at Xmas several years running which was nice but it was overtaken by spammers and then a born again christian type called Stephen who was a nasty piece of work and would make it unpleasant to visit. The site was eventually closed down. It wasn't a place to necessarily find facts about JWdom it was more of a social site to make friends and get support.
Now the only websites I visit are this one for company and jwfacts if I want to know something specific.