Where were you when you decided to quit being a JW?

by Steve Lowry 40 Replies latest jw friends

  • Euphemism

    The quad outside the local college library. I had gone there to read Crisis of Conscience (I was afraid to read it at the public library, or to take it home, because it might be seen by a Witness). I had finished the book, and gone outside, and I was just overpowered with emotions. I had been hanging on to the organization for months, despite having serious doctrinal differences. I had been afraid to leave. And now, the fear was gone. I realized that life spread out ahead of me, and I could do and believe whatever seemed right to me.

    It was an amazing feeling.

  • logansrun

    Funny, I actually went an hour away from my territory to read CoC at the library. I started reading. What seemed like fifteen minutes was actually five hours. As I walked out the door I was speechless. I highly doubt I will ever have a feeling like that in my life again.


  • Country_Woman

    Never here and now.

    That I always was nearly bored to dead in the hall was one of the reasons that made me think.

    But most of all a slow proces and most of that proces at home.

  • Dawn

    2 part process:

    During my last judicial committee mtg the elders gave me a choice, break of with my then boyfriend and get private reproof, or stay with him and get DF'd. I just knew - no matter what happened with my then boyfriend, I did NOT want to be at the kingdom hall any longer - so I told them no and I walked out.

    I still had the JW mindset for a long time though - years - until I read crisis of conscience, then started researching the history of JW's. That was the ticket to freedom for me.

    Oh yea......and the boyfriend........now my husband for 8 years. Good trade I'd say!

  • Mulan
    I had finished the book, (Crisis of Conscience) and gone outside, and I was just overpowered with emotions. I had been hanging on to the organization for months, despite having serious doctrinal differences. I had been afraid to leave. And now, the fear was gone

    That was the final straw for me too. The slow fade ended the day I finished that book, and we never went back to the KH again. (July '97) I knew we were leaving, and we rarely attended anymore, but that day I knew it was over.

  • Soledad

    I remember the very first "thought" that popped into my head about leaving occurred shortly after high school graduation. However, I quickly stuffed that thought away.

    Then, about 1 year later I had a conversation with my mom while driving about going to night school. She obviously was concerned about the meetings. I remember saying something like "I cant sit on your lap forever. I have got to live my own life sooner or later." I ended up taking a night job and going to college during the day. I didn't attend a weeknight meeting for over 1 year. I loved it! But I still distinctly retained my identity as a Jehovah's Witness to anyone who asked.

    On a gorgeous Saturday morning during the summer of 1996 I was walking around a neighborhood with a large group of witnesses. The group included 1 80 year old woman who I loved dearly (she passed away 1 month ago). We were all walking along from our parked cars and up a hill to get to some houses. I suddenly raised my head up and realized something. We were all shuffling along with our heads down looking down at the ground and avoiding conversation with each other. I said to myself "It's such a gorgeous day and we all look like idiots walking around this neighborhood looking like this?? F**k this!! I'm leaving!" I just turned around and went back to my car and went home. That was the last time I went out on field service.

    Shortly after that I was at the District Assembly. It was soooooo boring. I cant even remember what the theme was, or what any of the talks were about, nothing. On the last day as the last talk was winding up I took off my earrings and threw them on the ground underneath my seat. To this day I'm not sure why I did that but I know I had decided that it was going to be my last District assembly.

    The following year I no longer identified myself as a JW. I wanted to have a normal life. I attended birthday parties and I made plans for Christmas, even if I was to spend it alone. I went back to college and worked part-time wherever I could, I paid no mind to the meeting schedule at all, and I only very seldomly attended the weeknight meetings. I still attended the smaller Circuit assemblies and special assembly days though, and that was only because my mom really couldn't find her way to that hall. The last special assembly was May 1997, I walked out around 2 pm complaining of a migraine. That caused a stir. Shortly after that I was called by the elders to meet with them. They asked me why I was not attending any meetings,and they pointed out that I hadn't been in field service almost 1 year. I didn't want to talk much but I told them that I hadn't been physically well and that I needed some time. But I knew that I wouldn't be seeing them again.

    At that time I still hadn't been introduced to the internet. While I was in college my Law History professor met with us at the computer lab to teach us how to do research on the 'net. It just turns out we were researching religious freedom, specifically, the 1943 Supreme Court's decision on flag-saluting (I cannot recall the name of the case but it was about the two children who were JWs and expelled from school for not saying the pledge of alliegance). Then, something happened. I entered MiningCo.com and linked around the religious topics. There was so much information about JWs!! I completely lost myself. One of the first sites I remember seeing was Support Group for ex-JWs and The information super highway freed their souls. I had recently been given an old 386 computer with a 14.40 modem so I raced home after class to see if I could get more information. I couldn't enter chatrooms or see much graphics on this computer, but the information was all there, clear and accessible. It was amazing! I found a link to Freeminds.org but I had to wait an eternity for the page to load. When it did I remember my reaction when I saw the graphic of the eye with prison bars on it. I was just beside myself. I remember reading the stories on Support Group and how I could relate so well to almost all of them. I briefly made an email contact with someone from Argentina on that site. Then I posted my picture and started posting on the discussion board and became very actively involved. Oh yeah, and I did order Crisis of Conscience from Amazon.com. Needless to say I handed in my DA letter June of 1998.

    It was over. Done. No more depression, no more anxiety attacks, I had enough!

    Thanks for letting me share!

  • Sassy

    I have to read that book.. Simplesally keeps saying she is going to borrow it to me..

    Actually I was in my bedroom on the phone with SimpleSally when I decided never to go back.. I had had it and while I was talking to her I just made up my mind. Never gave it a second thought after that........it was over.. done

  • logansrun

    I honestly cannot fathom leaving the JWs without reading Crisis of Conscience.


  • garybuss

    I walked into the kingdom hall in January of 1974 and I couldn't take my eyes off the year text. It said, "Although the fig tree itself may not blossom, . . ."

    That was my objective proof that the Society didn't believe it's own hype about 1975 that they had been riding since 1966. That text was a radicle departure from the doom and gloom hype of the last few years. It was their prophecy in big bold letters in the front of every kingdom hall all over the world and it was one prediction that came true. Their fig tree of prophecy did not bloom in 1975. . . . or in 1976 . . . or in 1977 . . . .or in 2003 . . .

    The Witnesses made sure I stayed uncomfortable by belly pushing me and my 3 year old son away from a vending machine at the District assembly and then insulting me before meetings, and finally by complaining about my costume by a back room summons. I never went back after that as a member.

    When I sat at my next circuit assembly in Sioux Falls and the DO was talking about the failed 1975 prediction, he said, "Brothers, If you heard it, you did not hear it here!". And that was the established line. A new doctrine. I kicked the door on the way out. They lied! I knew it, I was there for it all. I was pissed.

  • Strawberryfieldsforever

    I think for me that a couple of things led to the slow fade. The one thing was when the CO came for a visit. I had worked all week on this great sermon. My mother came to my hall to go out with me and hear my new sermon. I thought it was really good and she told me..."yes, it was good, but you need to improve on alot of things...". I was so upset and decided right then and there that I was never going to be good enough for her or the organization. The second thing was at an assembly when the speaker was talking about being on a ship. If we saw our children leaning over the edge and looking at the water and wanting to jump off, we should push, shove, or yank or anything to keep them on the ship! I was sickened by that. Encouraging parents to do anything from letting their children be part of the world. I couldn't take it anymore and started a slow fade which lasted about 4 years. I'm so glad to be out of there!

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