I got involved with the witnesses at age 16 and was baptized by them. This was in 1957 when the baptisms were more Biblical than today. I was "in" for a fairly brief time of one year when, because of intense family opposition, my activities with the witnesses essentially came to a halt. I did manage to sneak to meetings occasionally for about another year then began the process of fading. My departure from the witnesses was finalized with my departure from home to enter active duty with the U.S. Navy in 1960.
Twenty one years later I transferred to the Fleet Reserve (retired) and began work as a secondary school instructor. For several years I did study with witnesses and attend meetings at the hall but never let anyone know that I had former involvement. I was driven by curiosity to find to satisfaction whether the witnesses truly were "the truth" as they claim. When a teenager during my first encounter it did seem a possibility but I always had nagging doubts even then.
I finally came to the realization that they are not "the truth" fourteen years ago. While I did search to find some group or organization which did have the Truth it ultimately became very clear that there is not anywhere on Earth any group or organization which has the unadulterated Truth. At first this was disappointing and difficult to accept but now it seems to be evidence of a divine plan. For some reason it is not yet time for any of us to experience the real Truth in any organized way with any group or religion.
Fortunately, after a year of intensive Bible reading and independent study free from any literature or outside interpretations, I had a better idea of what I wanted to search for. I began searching for writings of Bible scholars, formally educated and otherwise, to see whether any of the writings held more truth than the self proclaimed "truth" of the WT Society or any other "religion."
The search has borne fruit. I have made such discoveries. As a result I have now a newly acquired deep respect for our Heavenly Father of Love and Great Wisdom; His faithful Son who came to Earth to show us The Way; and have discovered that the Love of this dynamic duo encompasses ALL of the creation. That we are experiencing and living a Plan which is just beginning. A Plan which will successfully manage to bring ALL humanity to Life. For most of us it is difficult to comprehend why there is so much wickedness, murder, mayhem, wars, destruction, famine, starvation, psychopath governments, etc, etc, etc... Yes, it is very difficult. We are assured, however, by The Word that all will be made Good as we transition through various stages of the Plan which will aid us in developing the ability to Love as our Creator intends. In other words, there is some Really Good News.
Many XJws have endured more than they were able to bear emotionally while in the Cult and as a result have seemingly "lost faith" in the Heavenly Family. Fortunately, those abused souls yet crave what is good and just and strive to live the life of love for their fellow man. This state of mind is well understood by those who watch us from above and it is not held against anyone. In due time all will be healed and made whole.
No, I am not associated with any religion or group. I'm just a solitary Bible Believer still studying and discovering how immense is the Love of our Father and His Son.
While in the Navy I did encounter several XJws and heard of many more. I had a friend (Sailor) in Japan whose wife was an active JW who traveled weekly from the Naval Station Yokosuka to a congregation in Tokyo to attend meetings. Some of the XJws in the Navy applied for Conscientious Objector status to be discharged from active duty. Not many were successful.