So I recently had the opportunity to hear Seth Andrews speak in person at a local Unitarian Universalist church. For those of you who know my past, I've had a bit of a difficult time dealing with the emotional aspects of a fade with a wife that says she believes but doesn't put forth the works that demonstrate that faith. We've kind of been in a rocky point in our relationship because we've both been afraid to test the waters on where each of us stand.
So I hear Seth Andrews will be speaking locally and I really want to attend, but I realize that this will be my first public display of apostasy. My nerves were on edge but I told my wife that I wanted to attend a talk that evening, that Seth Andrews, founder of the Thinking Atheist, was giving a talk at the Unitarian Universalist church. She said okay but seemed a little uneasy about me going. But I went anyways. This was my first time in a Unitarian Universalist church. It was a plain, small building and not as weird as I thought it would be. The crowd was incredibly diverse, from well-dressed educated people to misfit type people (who could have also been well-educated, no stigmas here!) that you'd expect to see at a heavy metal concert. There were very few Unitarian Universalists there, which I found odd, and a handful of people from the local atheist group, but for the most part, the audience was unaffiliated with any group.
So I find my seat. Seth goes out of his way to come shake my hand and thank me for coming. I had the opportunity to talk to him, share a little of my story, and thank him for the large influence that he has had on me getting my bearings and maintaining a cool head as I fade from existence from the JW religion. He sympathized that he never knew just how bad the religion was until he studied it. For a long time, he saw JWs as a happy people, but never knew what we had to go through in our exit.
He gave a new talk about his friend Corey that suppressed his true personality for a long time. When Corey finally revealed that he was gay, Seth went through a difficult struggle to accept this because his Christian upbringing had taught him that Corey was going to hell. Seth discussed this struggle and how he ultimately overcome his reservations, accepted the lifestyle that Corey led, and still calls him a friend to this day. And this friendship has led to experiences that Seth wouldn't have had otherwise.
Seth also introduced us to the liberal redneck, Trae Crowder. Watch him if you get a chance. I about laughed my ass off. Liberal Redneck - YouTube
So when Seth was done, I go back home. We have some family over and nobody really says anything about where I've been or what I did. I assume they all knew, but didn't know for sure. When they leave, my wife asks how it went and I share with her what Seth talked about. We talk about JW stuff and the upcoming convention. She mentions the shunning talk and I tell her the real talks the witnesses will be talking about are the bunker talks. I tell her about how there's a whole series of videos they are using to instill fear in members yada yada ya and that I saw it on YouTube as well as the shunning video, and I discuss some of the points from that video too.
Later that evening she keeps asking me who I went to see again and says she watched the videos and starts to condemn them for using fear tactics and the image that they are presenting of themselves in these videos, and starts to mention some of the other videos she saw on YouTube. So she shows me one and backs up to show me another, and when she backs up, what site do you think she lands on???? Avoidjw.org
So she went to an apostate site to view drama videos which she was then critical of, shared this with me, and has since been reaching out to people that she had previously cut off for being disfellowshipped/disassociated.
And then my wife asked, "So, does this make you an official apostate now?" I told her "No, I was that a long time ago, but it does give them something official to disfellowship me for now. That and me talking to disfellowshipped people." Her reply...."Bring it."
This was the complete opposite reaction that I was expecting from her. I never expected her to come this far in being released from the clutches of the Watchtower. Seth is an amazing speaker and person, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to experience him. And I'm glad that through this experience, I've have a positive experience with my wife.
TLDR; Seth Andrew came to town. I got to hear him speak and this opened the door for me to have a great experience with my wife. Things are slowly but surely getting better.