I didn't keep it secret when I was one and I don't now that I've left either. It took a major chunk of my life so I can't ignore it, and I'm not ashamed of it either. Most people that I've told have found it fascinating as they've had little contact with any Witnesses.
Do you ever mention to anyone you were a JW ??? or keep it secret ???
I always avoided conversations about religion, cause I knew eventually it would come up. I think thats what made me a loner. I was always afraid that someone would find out that I was one of "those people". I found it hard to relate to people and didn't dare to get close to anyone.
Now I am just starting to come out of my shell. I tell people about my experiences in there and I'm amazed how much they listen and ask questions. They do feel sorry for the way I was brought up. I think that these people will end up being good friends to me. It's great to get it out in the open and be honest about my past.
I never wanted anyone to know I was a witness.
If (rude) strangers ask me a personal question out of the blue, like "Do you go to church?", I'll often flip em by saying something like, "Depends what they're serving.". :-) I do go to church and eat:-) and for weddings and funerals. I revere religious people as long as it's both ways.
Often ex witnesses e-mail me and ask about my current beleifs and I don't flip them. I just tell them my outlook is pragmatic, my solutions have all been from human origin, my friends tend to be humanist, and several of my close friends are theists and more than one is a mystic.
Usually they ask me what's a theist? Or what's pragmatic mean? Or what's a mystic or what's humanist mean? So you see why it's easier to do a flip. GaryB
As a witness I avoided telling classmates or others that I was a witness for a couple reasons.
1. I was embarassed.
2. I led the so-called 'double life'.
As a recovering witness (not DFd or DAd just faded) I do not tell people I was a witness. I will tell them that my parents were witnesses and that my sisters are, or sometimes I'll tell them I was baptized catholic (most people ask if I'm catholic b/c I'm of Italian ancestry) because I was.
It's funny, there are several local employees at the Embassy that are witnesses and have asked me if I was baptized (they see me outside smoking). I say no, mostly because I'm an officer and I don't trust them to be professional about the work relationship, so I'd rather lie to them no so they feel they can continue to work for me. In one case, I had to contact the branch coordinator for Togo while I was doing an asylum investigation on a woman who was a witness and fled due to religious persecution. Of course, I'm very fluent in the language of WTBTS, so he asked me "how do you know all these terms". I told the truth: my parents are witnesses. I just omit that I was.
Not any more. Actually I never really told too many people outside of service. People at work eventually found out but were nice about it(kinda like being nice to the handicapped kid in class, I guess).
Not too long ago, though, I was in a bar with a workmate when he brought up religion. I tried to avoid it, but he wouldn't let it go. He said that he noticed that I no longer had the hang-ups that I used to and asked if my religion was loosening up. I informed him that I had "issues" with it and was no longer attending. He then confessed to me that he always considered JWs a cult and he was glad that I was now "becoming a normal person". His words.
If the situation arises, I am honest and tell my history. Most people are interested to hear the "inside" track of the JWs; as long as they know that you are not going to preach to them!.
It is part of my history; is who I am; and I am honest about it.
I did the best I could to hide it when I was older but growing up it was tough because everyone on the block would be out playing and we would be all dressed up to go to a thursday night meeting. That was a bummer.
Man I could have swore I commented in here yesterday. I must be losing it!
I never said too much most of my life about being a JW unless it had to come up via direct questions about why I didn't do something.. of course in school, work, once people find out, then everyone knows..
Now I really would like as I let go of the 'old' and on the with the 'new' not to have to credit myself when I meet someone as being an xJW. If I do, that only shows the control they still have over me. That I have to explain where I come from. Of course in a relationship it is important that the other person know (at least till I get over my baggage) but new friends do not..
I want to be known for who I am... not who I was.
Whenever I get the chance, I share my experiences of being a JW, why I left, what I've learned.........I want to warn as many people as possible about this destructive cult. I usually tell them "if ya wanna lose all your friends and family and have absolutely no fun in life, then end up with depression and maybe trying to commit suicide, go ahead, join them!