Reading the thread on mind numbing meetings reminds me of the following event that occurred when I was about 19.
I'd got a full time job away after leaving school and was working about 20 miles away - Thursday night meetings necessitated working later , catching a 6.10pm bus after work and walking 10 minutes or so straight to the KH , often arriving just as the meetings were starting or a few minutes late and getting the "evil eye" from some of the JWs when I arrived. My parents ( father was the Presiding Overseer ) would bring my clothes in the car and I would get changed into my suit in the KH toilets.
It was one of those moments when all the stars seemed to align. I had had a particularly stressful day at work and was even more tired & hungry than usual on a Thursday night. The weather was cold and raining , so I got soaked on my walk. The meeting was even more boring than usual ( or maybe it just seemed that way ) and I nodded off , to be woken up by a sharp elbow in my ribs from my mother.
Anyway - thankfully the meeting ended and I was hanging around afterwards waiting to go home when one of the more self righteous pioneers came over to berate me for not being out on the ministry enough. I wasn't really in the mood to discuss the matter so kind of blanked him a bit , but it did piss me off even more.
Me & my brother & sister groaned when my father told us that he had an elders meeting afterward , so we just sat waiting in the hall with the other elders wives & families until it finished. It went on & on & I just got more & more frustrated.
Eventually the meeting ended , and the elders came out. My father ( the PO ) was NOT in a good mood - clearly some cong problem or the usual elder politics were to the fore.
On the drive home ( about 15 minutes ) my father took out his anger on the family , which wasn't really like him - he was nagging at my mother who was bitching him back. I knew during these parental arguments that it was normally best to stay quiet , but I just said "Come on - just lets get home" from the back seat.
For some reason this seemed to the final trigger for my father , who suddenly stopped the car in the middle of the town & said - that's enough - "Get out - you can walk the rest of the way home." My mother told him not to be so foolish , so for a few seconds there was a bit of a stand off while everybody , my brother & sister included , wondered if he was serious. " I told you to get out." he again ordered , and I had no choice but to get out , into the cold , wet night.
I stood there for a few moments as the car drove off , wondering what to do. My gut reaction was that my father would have second thoughts , drive around the block and pick me up - but I really didn't know what to do. Walking home would take about half an hour and I somewhat feared the reception I would get - my father didn't lose his temper much but when he did , he could be pretty crazy.
I decided to hide behind a wall for a few minutes to see what would happen. My initial determination was correct , as the car came around the block , slowly looking for me, but they couldn't see me in the gloom. It circled another couple of times & then left.
Rather than walk home , I decided to go to one of my ( non JW ) workmates houses a few blocks away. I knocked on the door , and in tears explained what had happened and he kindly let me in , made me a sandwich & a cup of tea and phoned my parents.
My mother came & picked me up and I arrived home to a blazing row with my father , where I told him that I was never , again going to the meetings. And I didn't - for three weeks or so. I already had doubts about the "Truth" and was frustrated with the whole routine. And for the first time , without the constant meetings / ministry mindless repetition , the blinkers started to come off , and I began to see the JW religion as simply a pointless , never ending charade of numbing activity serving an American religious book publishing pyramid type MLM company. Years later - I read an experience about Amber , in China , where she said that being in a foreign country away from the routine made her think. I knew how she felt.
But this was pre-internet - pre everything - and I didn't have the information available to confirm this. And also - I had no life outside the Org - no home , no social support.
My father & mother eventually had a "clear the air" meeting with me. This was a mixture of apologies from my father , but also threats to kick me out of the house if I didn't attend meetings and stop paying my 1 day a week day release college course. My mother also told me privately that my father would lose his position in the congregation - we only had three elders so it would be catastrophic for everyone. I was in a weak bargaining position and I had no choice really other than to go back.
I was thrown a bone there - an opportunity - a "Get out of Jail ( almost ) Free" card there , but I didn't take it. It is something I have long since regretted. It was another 20 odd years before I eventually left.