I just wanted to thank this community for being there during my most difficult period of life. Even if it wasn't a direct interaction, I was reading, and I've taken away a lot over the past year plus. On September 2 of last year the local congregation announced that my wife and I were no longer Jehovah's Witnesses because we chose to disassociate.
This past year of living in freedom has been better than I could have imagined. My wife and I have made so many new friends, and we've seen for ourselves that life outside of "Jehovah's protection" has been better than it ever was while on the inside. I've gone from JW to loving my newfound Christian freedom to agnostic/atheist. We celebrated our first Thanksgivings last year on separate days with different families that took us in as one of their own. Speaking of family, I just reconnected with a cousin that I haven't seen since I was a child two weeks ago. Speaking of reconnecting, I'm now friends with people that I hadn't seen in over a decade, friends that I had when younger that left the dubs. My wife didn't have but one such person from her younger days, and we're going on a trip to Austin to see her in November. This year will be our first time doing the Christmas thing. We just weren't ready for it last year, and now we are.
Bit by bit the cult personality is shed. I cannot for the life of me believe that I once lived the life that I lived as a JW. I can't believe that I put faith in what I did as a JW either. That life is becoming foreign to me.
I lost my dad in April and that was rough for a week, but my new life has taken over. I wish my mom, my one brother, and my sister that are still in could enjoy the new life I have with me. However, ultimately that's their choice to stay behind. Our new friends love us for us. We don't have to agree on everything and that's awesome.
I hope that this post serves as a thank you to those here that I've communicated with and SImon for being responsible for this community. I also hope that it serves to inspire others that are afraid to leave. Just do it. I know that it isn't popular, but I highly recommend disassociation, though everything is based on your individual feelings and circumstances. I'm not going to be like so many that take shots at disassociation as though it is just hands down the wrong thing to do. If you need to fade, then fade like a boss. If you don't feel that way, pull that band-aid off and disassociate. You will never have to look over your shoulder again, never have to worry about a phone call or visit, everything just stops. It is closure, and is has been beautiful for us.
Ultimately though, no matter how you get out, my advice is boiled down to this:
RUN!!!!! Don't walk, run! The building is on fire, you're inhaling smoke, how much do you want to take into your lungs? It is impacting you, you cannot escape it. The sooner your get out, the sooner you can breathe in the fresh air. That fresh air is priceless. Don't stay in a burning building because the people in it tell you that the world outside of it is what is really on fire.
I'll leave this here below. It is a slideshow thing that I made of some highlights from our past year. It is but a fraction of the things we've done, and the new people we have in our life. Maybe it will inspire someone else though to look ahead to what life could be, to discount the jedi mind tricks that the Borg use to make you think that life will be horrible outside of their influence.
Again, thank you so much for helping me to get out, not just physically, but helping me break it all down mentally and emotionally so that my wife and I could live free.