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

by Steve Lowry 40 Replies latest jw friends

  • Eyebrow2

    I was standing outside in the KH parking lot, stand near the truck of my car, having a long, difficult conversation with one of my closest friends...I think it was right around the Memorial..it may have been right after THE Memorial...it was 1998. I was telling my friend, that I didn't know if I could step back in the KH ever again, that I just didn't agree...it had come over me so suddenly after the meeting...things that had been brewing subconsciously for years....the way women were second class citizens, how we did no work to benefit those that were not witnesses, the shunning...

    After that I got online, and started asking questions of people in various chat rooms about spirituality in general....but only for a few months, just cursory stuff. Then, after I got together with my now husband (whom I met online...never would have met him if I had not dared to go online hahah), I was reading a book that he had, called Job A Comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein,...it made me soooo angry...it was a good book, and it made me so pissed off at the same time. It stirred in me thinking I had never really thought about before.

    I didn't think about it too much for about a year or two.after that....then when I was very pregnant, I saw a tv report on two girls that had been molested by a JW and was SHOCKED...not because that it happened...that happens in every religion, but it was the first time that I had heard about the society getting sued over it...so I went online to look more up...and ended up on this site.

    This is where I found out about CoC. I good read.

    I have not gone to a meeting since that night. I have been in the parking lot of a KH or two over the years,.to drop my mom off or pick her up...I even went into the entrance of my old hall to get her once...shudder!

    All I can say, that experience, although I feel I have a better life now, it was like a divorce. But I don't regret being a witness...it was something I was raised in, rebelled in, then came back and 'made it my own" for several years. I was a true believer when baptised, and ready to go when I did. No one lead me to get baptised, and no one asked me to leave...it was on my own terms. It is part of who I am.

  • Steve Lowry
    Steve Lowry

    After I quit being a JW, for a very long time (I think deep down), I thought I did so because being a JW was boring, or I was too lazy or I was just too wild to be a JW. And while all this may have been true to some point, it took several years (I had to discover who I was) to understand the real truth of why I left. At the time, I really didn?t have any of the deeper soul searching issues that so many have shared in these and other threads, regarding their exodus. For a long time I simply thought I was too shallow of a person to have continued to be a JW. Does that make sense? The real truth of the matter is, I really didn?t question very much of anything growing up a JW. And I think that?s key for those of us who were raised as a JW. We never really were given the choice to make the decision in the beginning, if it was the truth or not. We simply accepted it at face value. So on the back end, when deciding to leave, it was somewhat a foreign concept to me if it was the truth or not. I think I still accepted it as the truth, but I simply didn?t want anything to do with it anymore. And oh yea, I partied like hell for a couple of years. Drugs sex and rock and roll! It was a lot of fun. But as I matured I realized I needed to be a bit more stable and so I became so. It was then I suppose that I started to slowly understand more of who I was. In 1982 my JW sister disowned me, and I was pissed about that for while. But I soon just accepted it and went on with my life. I just thought she was a religious fanatic nut and dismissed her that way. I didn?t think much at all about my JW experience(s) for most of the eighties.

    In the early nineties I moved to Atlanta and came upon a church with several former JW's! It was very nice to have so much in common with so many new people. Well, after a couple of months of ?networking? with other former JW?s I realized that my sister?s behavior was NOT the JW exception, but rule! And I became very angry at the Watchtower Society at that point. I joined a former JW group and learned all that I could about their experiences, about the Society and everything associated with the JW religion. Looking back, it was only until THEN that I began to understand why I decided to stop being a JW all those many years ago, that night in at the Hall, while looking at myself in the mirror, in the bathroom. I realized finally that I could have NEVER been a JW for a lifetime. I?m way too independent of a person to allow any individual or group of individuals to tell me what I can do or can not do. Or, what I can say or can not say, or think or not think. I mean, fuck that! The Watchtower Society never put one crumb of food on my table! I make my way in this world and nobody is gonna tell me how to live my life, especially someone hijacked man made religion led by a bunch of pious pompous ass hypocrites.

    This is why I get so frustrated with JW?s who insist that they lead such wonderful fulfilled lives and want others to join in their fantasy. The JW life is one of oppression. It?s a mind killer and stagnates personal growth and development. It forces people through coercion to shut down their God given right to function as independent beings. It thwarts creativity. It instills apathy and stifles compassion. It creates elitism and encourages antisocial behavior. It teaches there is only ONE avenue of truth and one reliable source. It destroys families and rewards those who sacrifice their children to its inane principles and bylaws (i.e. blood).

    When someone asks me about the JW religion and why is it so bad, I feel pinned up and want to explode because I can?t it all out at once! (LOL) Its so NOT true and so destructive and in so many ways. It?s difficult sometimes to know where to start to explain what this religion is and is capable of doing to its followers. Oh, but I find a way, you bet.

    I may have not realized exactly why I quit being a JW initially, but I do now.

    Thank you for allowing me to share this with you this morning. Long post I know, but it was cathartic for me . . .



    Someone asked where I grew up, in this thread. It was in Miami Florida. I have a sister and a mother still mentally locked and chained in the dungeon of the Watch-Tower.

  • orangefatcat

    I was having a rough go of life, with my ex husband being a fanatical JW who never gave his own son any of his time to. I was so mad for years that he did this to our son. When ever it came to doing things like camping or hiking or a ball game of whatever my ex never wanted to go anywhere except in the ministry. My dad passed away in 1995, my mom was a mess it took several years for her to finally adjust to his death. My mother was always on my case about my spirituality. She gave my hell two weeks before I would leave.. Nothing I did was good enough for her or for my sisters. Of course I thought I was to only answer to Jehovah not them.. True I missed a lot of meetings but I was so unhappy , It was always easy to say that I am not feeling well. My mother use to say to me as did my sister why is it your sick when its meeting time and the next day your out doing things. I felt is was not their affair. They knew how unhappy I was in my marriage for many many yrs. I would try really try, but nothing was ever good. I hated to sit beside my husband at the Kingdom Hall feeling ill will towards him and not loving anything about him. I felt like a hypocrite. For several yrs before my leaving I had doubts about alot of things going on in the org. and the congregation. I despise gossip and backbiting and we had alot of that in our KH and ours wasn't the only one, I mean I had gone to three cong. that were in a close area of each other. I had been to all three and one I was in for years prior to going t o Quebec. Then when I moved back from Quebec we were in my old cong. we bought a house in that territory. Then the hall split and formed another cong. So that is why I knew so many and for yrs I couldn't stand the hypocrisy, I think now that for yrs I had feelings as to why do I stay if I am so unhappy. I had to think of my son. I wanted to divorce my ex but my son was sad if I would do it so I put it off continuing to be very unhappy. But no one knew this as I use to be great at putting on a face for the KH. My marriage was so bad and one day my son said to me mom, why don't you divorce dad and find some happiness. Well I was at first shocked, but then I realized he knew deep down that his father was not nice. I felt strange about it. I often prayed t o Jehovah while in the bath tub and would be crying pleading to Jehovah to help me please do the right things I wanted help but it seemed to me that for yrs Jehovah wasn't listenning to my pleas and I was on the verge of just running away. I spoke to my doc. and asked him for help. I told him I have decided to leave the Jehovah's Witnesses and John at the same time. Well he was delighted that finally I was going to leave. He set up an appts. with the hospital social worker, got me a lawyer and made arrangements for me to enter into a shelter for abused women. I prior to doing this, had started packing up my belongings and filled my long closet with boxes. I threw out nine full garbage bags with stuff I had accumulated over the years. I did this packing while my son was a t school and my ex was in the service . So neither was aware of what I was doing. After when it came time for me to leave I told my son. "listen mommy is going away for awhile and I will be back in a couple of days to explain, I said to him trust me I will be fine and please say nothing not anything to your father.." So days went by and finally when I went to the house to explain and pick up some of my stufff my ex was livid and scared and worried sick. "Where have you been I have been worried sick your mom and sister are worried to where have you been what is going on." Basically I told him I was divorcing him and leaving the organization. He was dumbfounded, for the first time since I was with him he was at a lose for words. He just stared into space. I told him everything. Told him I won't ever be back and so you can tell mom and my sister and whom ever else you want. I told him also that I will be divorcing you right away and he said why and pleading with me, no don't do this. I said I am doing this and I have had all I can take of you and the JWs. I told him I would get my belongings out as soon as I can. I said you can't find me and don't try and find me. Then I lowered the bomb shell on him. I told him that I had committed adultry and you should have seen the expression on his face. He was blank just blank he said is it with another witness? I told him no and that was it. As they say the rest is history. But I haven't regretted or looked back since that day on December 24th 1999. I was disfellowshipped two wks later. I refused to be bullied by any elders so I refused with respect and they sent me a letter via my ex and he got it to me and he told me that from the time I recieve this letter I have seven days t o go to the elders if not its disfellowshipping. I told my ex I didn't care, I told the elders do as they must as I know the consqenseses of what I have done. A couple of days later I got another plea from the elders and a second time I explained in a letter that I had told him nothing was changed, everything I said in my first letter explained everything. So now I have to tell my sisters and mom as they had no clue. I told my sister she said to me I will have to report your wrongdoing to the elders, I said "don't bother I have done it already". A few days later my son told me to call my sister again. So I did and we hashed everything out as much as I wanted to tell her. Well she says Terry, the elders are giving you seven days from this moment of my speaking to you to contact them. I told her no and I said mom needs to be told. She said would I prefer it if she told mom as it would be better for her. She will fall apart. I told my sister you tell mom and so that was that. ... I could continue with what followed but now , my live continues as I want it to.

    Love Orangefatcat...

  • scotsman

    I was on a flight home from Rome when I decided I had to tell the object of my affection that I was in love with him and I had to stop being a Witness. Two weeks of depression later my mother and I were sitting on the lawn drinking gin and she told me she knew I was gay (she'd pasted and copied instead of copied and pasted and discovered a letter I'd written). I replied that being gay didn't make me depressed, but pretending I believed in the 'truth' did.

    I stopped everything for 6 gloriously exhilarating months, climbed mountains, swam seas and looked at life afresh. Then I went back to meetings as an observer for a few months, but I knew instantly I didn't accept any of it. I met a guy, started a relationship and one night told my Mum that this would be my last meeting as it wasn't working. Turned out to be an unofficial marking talk in which I was described but not named. A meeting to remember.

    Life has continued to be gloriously exhilirating, enhanced by having my man by my side.

  • Doubtfully Yours
    Doubtfully Yours

    At the KH, when I realized they had changed the expression in our Spanish calendar, a few years ago to read now "Millions Now Living Might Never Die", when the original expression and the one they had always promoted since its beginning is "Millions Now Living Will Never Die".

    Also at the KH, my desire to leave got reinforced when, I think it was that same year, they changed the understanding of the 1914 generation. It sealed the deal for me right then and there. Nothing with the WTBTS has been important since.

    However, I'm still hanging around the KH sometimes to keep appearances due to my parents and husband being firm JWs.


  • undercover

    Slow process for me. It was little things over time that did it for me. There was no bolt of lightening at a specific time.

    This comment got me to thinking:

    I honestly cannot fathom leaving the JWs without reading Crisis of Conscience.
    I have CoC and it is excellent so far(still reading), but for me, I had already decided to quit before looking into this book. I wonder though, it took reading and studying books to become a JW, why do we need a book to quit being a JW? Why do we need affirmation from a book to convince us? If we "know", truly "know", then we should be able to walk away without it. I'm not critisizing the book or the comment, it just made me think about it. The book is eye-opening and I recommend it, but I believe that one can see through the WTS and leave without reading it.
  • scotsman

    CoC does seem to be most helpful for those who need to de-programme. I don't think I'm the only one who lived the Witness life culturally as opposed to spiritually, and for me the workings of the GB didn't need debunked as I never believed in them as athe mouth piece of God. I've used CoC for reference but not as a read through.

  • Kenneson

    I was at Bethel where I came across some apostate literature in the Library. When I started questioning I was called in "on the carpet." I was told I should not have been reading this literature as it was only meant for reference. I was also told that I should have been reading only Watchtower literature instead. I was also told that I was more Catholic than Jehovah's Witness and that I needed to start studying all over again. I decided that I already knew what JW's believed and I just didn't agree with them anymore and left instead. This was in 1966. And I never went back to meetings and don't ever intend to.

  • Nosferatu

    This is an excellent topic, and the experiences I've already read are excellent!

    Now, here's my story

    Even after the problems I endured in Grade 7, being beat up every day because I felt I was going through "testing" by Satan, I still remained attached to the JW way of life. I thought that Jehovah actually did protect me, although I didn't realize at the time how much damage was done to me.

    When I was 14, in Grade 8, Spring 1992, I developed a crush on a worldly girl. I built up the courage to ask for her phone number (which was very difficult) and I began conversing on the phone with her on a regular basis. I had to call her either when my mother was out of the house, or sleeping. It was rediculous that I had to hide this. At this time, my mind had been wrestling with 2 things, The JWs and the girl. I came up with the idea to eventually convert her to becoming a JW (which I never did).

    I was on the phone talking to her one day when my mother picked up the phone. I just told her it was my friend (insert guy's name here) and she hung back up. So I continued talking. A few minutes later, my mom picked up the phone and said, "Your talking to a girl! You lied to me! When you lie to me, you lie to Jehovah". That was it. I was embarassed, humiliated, and ashamed. I've never felt so low in my life. I actually felt like I wanted to die. That was the moment everything changed. I felt that the whole thing was incredibly rediculous and I was stuck. Everything else that followed just re-enforced it.

    Here's another rediculous thing that happened. I ended up dating a girl when I was 15. Little did I realize it, she was also studying with the JWs. I never let on that I was one, but I found out she was studying when she told a friend, "No, I'm going to the meeting tonight". That really made me wonder. Then, she found out I was a JW through the people at school.

    Anyway, she found out where I lived and came to see me. My mother answered the door and gave her shit. She pried at what her name was and what congregation she was attending. She then went on a witch hunt to find out anything she could about this girl. This, in my mind, was going way overboard. I didn't want to turn out like that or have others poking their nose into my business. It took me until the age of 18 1/2 to leave due to me being under age. I wish I could've left a lot sooner.

  • aarque

    I was married many years ago and we were having problems, so John went to the elders for help. We were ignored. He asked again, and still no response from any of them. It was around the holidays and we had received a card from John's brother, so I hung it on the refridgerator to make sure John saw it. A few days later I was home alone when an elder knocked on my door. He came into the kitchen, then asked if we could talk in the living room. I had no idea what it was he had to say that couldn't be said in the kitchen, but we went into the living room anyway. He turned around and walked out. Total length of visit: less than two minutes. I found out later that someone reported we had put up a tree.

    A short time later, an elder approached me. He told me that the day before, while out in service, I had been observed taking a vase off someone's porch and smashing it on the ground. I told him that was ridiculous, that I would never do a thing like that. He kept insisting I was seen doing it, but wouldn't tell me who made the accusations.

    It was right after this we stopped going altogether. We had been skipping a lot of meetings and service, but this was it for me. I had grown up in this congregation, and the elder had known me for twenty years. They couldn't be bothered to help when we needed it, but were among the first to believe the lies told. We stopped going.

    Several months later, John and I split up (he got involved with someone else). The elders came to my house and told me I couldn't get a divorce. I told them that John was divorcing me and I wasn't contesting it. There was nothing they could do. I never told them about John's affair; it was none of their business. I could barely look at them, I was so disgusted with it all. They never said a word about my not attending meetings. They left and never called on me again. That was more than twenty-five years ago...and I've never had anyone so much as leave a track or magazine at my door in all these years.

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