Thanks for the warm greetings all. Wow! I am very moved, really.
*WARNING SEMI-LONG WINDED STORY COMING YOUR WAY*
My story will be short and sweet as possible. I am a born-in elders son and my mother was a special pioneer. I did everything for the "false" (what I call the so called truth) imaginable minus serving at Bethel (sorry Bethel but despite how good your food looked in the "Organization behind the name" video, is just not enough to make me fall for that crap.) :D
Thankfully I knew the brothers were a complete joke right from the start because I knew everyone's business via my father, his elders friends, and interactions between my dad and my mom (side note: if you think that elders keep your crap confidential, think again! Especially if it is related to sexual matters.) I knew all the dirt, and dirty it was!
Many of the elders I grew up with were drunks, cheaters and porn addicts despite DF'ing others for the same thing and giving talks against those things. They had wives that were pill poppers and drunks too. Also their children were always in and out of trouble of various sorts, but they always had that "get out of jail" card to use being who they were. Of course not all were like that. I had pretty "wholesome" friends but I would put the corruption where I lived at 70% corrupt vs. 30% genuine. It was pretty bad for many good people growing up.
As far as my quirky parents, they were and still are, Super-Ultra-Mega dubs. I'll have to tell that story another time.
I was a pretty good kid so all those "advantages" I had through my dad growing up were a waste on me. I never needed them. I kept myself out of trouble and was fine for the most part. I just remember growing up and the older I got the more disturbed I became seeing the corruption first hand getting worse. I had bouts of sever depression in my upper teens and the nonsense I saw made it worse. I was never close to my parents, had no real, genuine friends I could trust. It was hard. This was before the internet of course. I had no outlet but a few worldly friends I hid from my parents. The best thing that happened to me was when I finally got a good job and moved out the house. Things improved greatly, mentally and also in the "false", until...
I met a man who only identified himself as an agnostic-atheist at a door. I am usually good at going toe to toe with atheists but never an AGNOSTIC atheist, whatever the crap that was. I will tell you this, that guy was different. He absolutely mopped the floor with me. He had a clearly valid provable argument against everything I told him.
I was a very book smart (which means dumb), and JW doctrine smart (which means dumber) individual but it was a straight up burrito vs Mike Tyson boxing match. I got schooled hard-body style and it HURT. No Greek or Hebrew word arguments. Just straight facts. I just could not give an answer back no matter how I tried so I gave him the good ol' "I'll research on that and get back with you" routine and left.
The man was very sincere about it and not rude so I decided to call back. Long story short I did research on the WT CD ROM and found some seemingly good argument points in favor of creation, went back on an RV, and got owned again. This time I was concerned because it started to reveal a huge weakness in my "ministry". If I am ever going to answer this guy, I needed to study differently.
Now I'm cooking with coal. I started reading the latest Atheist books on the market, got hip with the latest science news, and then I read some pretty decent pro-creation books (non-witness). What I did next literally was THE start and of waking up: I read the "How did life get here by evolution or by creation" book and it was over, a wrap.
The book was PURE rubbish. Horse manure. Seriously folks, the book was beyond poorly written. It was flat out deceptive, even for it's time of writing. I read it last due to it being very dated compared to everything else I read and it was perfect! Now that I was pretty hip to evolution and atheism I readily spotted most of the misquoted facts, figures immediately and could easily google the rest. Also most of the concepts explained are done with great liberties and flat out deception in favor of creation. It was a red-hot mess of a book.
So what I did, I looked up facts and reviews on The "Creation book" and found an essay that someone wrote to Bethel back in the day about every point, page per page, wrong with the creation book. Maybe some of you remember it. It literally disproven nearly EVERY point in the book with facts and direct quotes from source materials used. The author of the essay was a witness and he detailed what happen next. He sent the essay to Bethel hoping to reach the writing department and posted the response letters from Bethel with his essay trying to get them to correct the flaws and getting nothing but denial and run-around. The second time around the branch started to attack the man throwing an apostate label threat at him and eventually I think after a couple more back-and-forth communications they DF'ed him and his wife for apostate views. DF'ed him, for discovering what I just discovered!!!! Life changing event!
I eventually went back to see the guy, not to debate but to have a discussion again at this time mentally exiting. This guy was hip and I wanted to be informed as well. It turned out that the guy was a former JW elder and was a CO way back in the day.
Well executed you sly bastard! LOL :D
Though I was happy to get informed I still had to admit I was slightly uncomfortable about the whole "apostate" angle. We had a very good 5 hour discussion about any things and I parted his house on very positive grounds. I was not ready to make to last leap out the org. just yet however.
I was PI and semi-MO due to having a well "instilled" respect for the governing body. Still I was learning so much more over the next few years from various websites. I found a pdf copy of the "Crisis of conscience" book, eventually this forum and another one that closed down years back. Still I had a problem that kept me in: I reasoned "sure brothers can be corrupt but not the GB, right? God's channel? They are still being used despite all the issues and abuses going on, right?" :/
Soon after the abuse allegations (or alligators if using spell check) started to really take shape the final nail in the coffin happened with the infamous "apostate driven lies! statement by Lett, and the coverage of the ARC.
I watched the whole bloody thing like a theater movie. Yes all, however many, hours it was. I was beyond enraged but fully liberated from this beast of a religion. I now knew without a doubt, KNEW that the GB was very much aware of what was going on and lying. The kicker, the knockout punch to prove without a doubt that the truth was truly false was when Jackson testified.
Finally mentally out! The next years to current where spend slowly fading away. Thankfully I have no true friends in the truth to worry about. Nobody ever called when i moved or checked up on me for the most part. It's sounds bad saying it but when your leaving the org it really is not. Having no attachments is a blessing. I have my parents but we are not close anyway and don't not interact very much so they are not a problem to deal with for the most part.
PLEASE NOTE: For all you lurkers out there, for the sake of your own faith, if you are in question, please, please, please, (James Brown) watch the ARC, in it's entirety. Pay special attention to the video with Joferry (or whatever that fools name is) Jackson in it, from start to finish. YouTube "Australian Royal Commission and look for a ~3 hr video and a 1 hr video with Jackson in it. It is long and at times slow but it will suck you right in. It changes EVERYTHING, trust me!)
I went back, after all these years to the house of the man that started me down this rabbit hole but he moved. However thankfully his neighbor still kept in touch with him and took my number down and I got a call one day and it drove me to tears to hear him again. I reconnected with him and his wife and we are literally the closest of friends to this day. I call him or he calls me with news and jw tid-bits daily. Sadly they are the only physical true friends in my life now but it is a case of quality over quantity to be sure. I have many online friends now. I interact with many YouTubers as well. I am happier more now than ever. It is still a challenge being in the know and dealing with "in" relatives but still worth it knowing what I know.
The man "Gregory" and his wife are "marked" in their neighborhood by local jw's so it is not often we meet in person and never at his new house. In fact we have to meet way out of the area about an hour and a half away to see each other in person but to have someone that knows and understands, even if via over the phone or the internet, is key to getting on with life after surviving a cult.
That is my story. I hope it was not too long. Thanks for reading the ramble.