One thing I've seen on this board is that fear has been a motivator for many to stay on as Witnesses. JWs are afraid to get the elders mad at them, hurt their families. They're afraid to be talked about and dissected by the "brothers and sisters" because they are not considered up to par. JWs are afraid of the "great tribulation" , dying----knowing that they could've done more......ETC.....What I've noticed is that almost everyone that has "left the truth", seems happier. They're no longer needing meds just to function. They no longer suffer severe panic attacks. They ACTUALLY are starting to enjoy "normal" aka "worldly" life!! -------Folks, all I can say is,"Once you get out of the "mind control" you will realize how many years that you have wasted.
The Fear of "Leaving The Truth"
Fear has always been a huge motivator the WTBTS uses with great skill, years of practise.
I have the occasional panic attack when I contemplate non-existence which I never had to deal with as a dub but overall freedom of mind kicks ass!
It's a cult!
The BITE Analysis: Ways to Evaluate a Group's Control
Over Personal Freedom
by Steven Hassan, M. Ed., LMHC
IV. Emotional Control
- Manipulate and narrow the range of a person's feelings.
- Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leader's or the group's.
- Excessive use of guilt
- Identity guilt
- Who you are (not living up to your potential)
- Your family
- Your past
- Your affiliations
- Your thoughts, feelings, actions
- Social guilt
- Historical guilt
- Excessive use of fear
- Fear of thinking independently
- Fear of the "outside" world
- Fear of enemies
- Fear of losing one's "salvation"
- Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group
- Fear of disapproval
- Extremes of emotional highs and lows.
- Ritual and often public confession of "sins".
- Phobia indoctrination: programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
- No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group
- Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations"; etc.
- Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.
- Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group's perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counselors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.
Once you get out of the "mind control" you will realize how many years that you have wasted.
At first I felt that way, but that's wrong! One has absolutely no idea what would have transpired if one had never been a JW - things could actually have been a lot worse. We just don't know!
Had I not joined the JWs circumstances would likely have made it that the three younger children I have now would not have been around. Everything we do, every living second, has ramifications - even on the next living second. My three younger children were born while Claire and I were JWs. Had we not been JWs our lives would have been entirely different, we may not have made love when we did so Claire would not have conceived so our children would not have been born. Instead, we would likely have had had other children - but I'm happy with those we have. The same for all other happenings in life as JWs, some good, some bad. So, NOTHING has been wasted, we only think it has.
One must look FORWARD after leaving the organisation. Dwelling on the past robs us of the present. Having lost two daughters to Watchtower I could feel as bitter as anyone, but I don't any longer. To do so is to dwell on the past, whereas I wish to live and enjoy the present - every minute of it!
Yes, there is much fear regarding leaving the "Truth" and, as Blondie has shown, being a cult that's EXACTLY what the organisation wants us to feel. Once one gets over that fear (it took me at least two weeks) there is still likely to be some initial anxiety - which wanes increasingly day after day Now, I have no fear at all. To be kept hold of by the "Truth" is by our continually looking back. This doesn't allow one to leave properly. One has to cut the ties for good by moving forward.
The ordinary JW is a pathetic individual manoeuvred by its strings being pulled by those to whom he/she gives authority. By cutting just one string the JW starts to break the control. The more strings that are broken the more freedom is felt. Cut the lot and the cult's power has gone for good, those given the authority seen in their true guise.
Leaving can be extremely painful due to the fear of losing family, which is why so many try to fade. The cult hold is immense, but the cult is only as powerful as it's allowed to be. It is the individual who has the real power, but so few realise this. I'm fortunate in that my wife and two sons exited at the same time. Others here aren't or wouldn't be so fortunate. Divided homes are a nightmare. It must be like the living dead!
Regrets? None! The past is dead.
Well said Dansk !!!!
When I finally leave, I'll be sure not to think my time was wasted.
I've lived a good life being a JW, and I'm sure to continue to live a good life once I exit the JW faith.
Remember, all of our life's experiences is what make us the person we are today. In my case, no time was really wasted at all.
This is what I recall from leaving the JW life 3 1/2 year ago. For nearly a year I had been thinking that something just was not right about the JW lifestyle and the requirements Jehovah put upon us. I had been living the JW life faithfully for 29 years.
I'd be sitting in the Theorcratic school meeting looking at all of us going through robotic actions of appearing happy to be at the meetings. Exhausted and bored because of sitting in so many meetings each week. Reassuring my sons that this was the best place in the world to be. After all the whole world was lying in the power of Satan the Devil, the fighter of real truth that we had right here tempting us.
I would sit there thinking of all the people I knew in the world who would be destroyed. I knew so many because I had a home sewing business and did alterations for the public for 17 years. I thought of Ms. Brady a wonderful lady who attended the Methodist Church. Who had pizza delivered to our home when I was sick with the flu for a week and had to close my business to recover. How she had brought us a huge hams at Christmas time because she loved all of us. I thought of my brother and sister whom I loved dearly who would not be in the new system. They had never hurt anyone and went out their way to help others including me their JW fleshly sister. I, who was not so kind to them because they would not become JW's. The more I thought, the more it seemed just crazy that God wanted to destroy them simply because they did not see him in the same light I did. I thought of my Catholic mother in law who was kinda weird at times but good to us, and would do anything for us if we needed her. Were these people really condemned in Jehovah and Jesus eyes???? Were they really going to destroy these good people because they were not JW's. So I started reading my bible, and at the same time looking up every scripture in the publications I read. Often times the scripture did not match what was being said. It didn't say all the world would be destroyed, but more along the lines that those who did not believe in Jesus would be. Then I began to realize that maybe the WTS was not correct. I had discussions with people on the internet though I stayed away from those I was sure was apostate like this site. LOL But those discussions when people were tactful with me helped me think.
Why would Jehovah require us to stay in cruel and terrible marriages just because he hated divorce? Why was it so bad for women to stand up for themselves if they were married. Or why was it bad for a brother to question the Elders about certain policies set by the congregation or the Watchtower Society? But fear was really strong. I knew that Jehovah would destroy me for such questioning. But why I would ask myself? Am I being unreasonable as the WTS kept telling us we were who questioned them? Little by little the fear began to drop away enough that leaving seemed possible to me. I was in a terrible marriage where my sons and I were put down and humilitated constantly. Me more than my sons.
Then my middle son age 15 was killed as a result of an auto accident. Blood was forbidden by the Elders who went with us to the hospital and by Dak's Dad. My dear Dakie probably would have died anyway, he was very badly injured, but without blood early on there was no chance. After the funeral and the numbing grief eased the tinest bit I knew I could not live this way any longer. With the help of a friend I left my childrens JW Dad. I began research on the blood policy, and found that it was totally wrong from any type of sound reasoning. I now understood I had blind faith in the Watchtower Society interpeting what the bible meant. Now I knew for sure my questions were sound. I came to find many things they were wrong about too. But by then I had lost all fear of the WTS because of Dak's death. I did not care at all that they called me apostate. They disfellowshipped me but I did not care because the chains they had around me were nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Yes fear is gripping, being cut off from all those you have known perhaps all your life. Fear of losing your family. And fear of this God that Jehovah's Witnesses worship called Jehovah was frightening. He is not a God that reachs out to embrace his stumbled children but he destroys them just as he did in the old testement. The love that Jesus came to teach seems non existent because he rarely mentioned. I one time had my sons put check marks besides Jesus name and checks beside Jehovah name as the speaker gave his talks on Sunday. Many times I noticed that Jesus was rarely mentioned. One time I counted that Jehovah was mentioned 20 times and Jesus was mentioned 2 times. Yet we were taught we could only approach Jehovah through Jesus. Something was not right.
Its hard leaving the Jehovah Witnesses, but it is absolutely true we are so much happier without that pressure and fear. To find out that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is not being inspired by Jehovah to interpet his scriptures was the scissors that cuts us free. So for those of your still fearful, read, read everything you can on the internet. Pick up Ray Frantz book "Crisis of Conscious" it will throughly enlighten you. After all if it is the truth then there is nothing the opposition can say that would make it wrong unless it is wrong in the first place. Think about it.
Dansk and Balsam, great posts!
Does this sound better?----"Once you get out of the "mind control" you will realize how many years that you have not wasted"? Believe me, some will gladly agree that being a JW was a waste for them.
Well said, Dansk, Doubtfully yours.
Hate and resentment are a poison that needs to be removed or it can kill us. (I can't go off my meds, or I will try to kill myself - my wiring is screwed up, probably from alcohol abuse)
I've gone full circle in many ways, with one major exception: I, no way in hell, will go back to the WBTS.
There is no way I could have gone to my elderly parents home yesterday and thanked them for everything they have done for me, if I had continued with my piddlyarsed selfish resentments. Yes, they did disrespect me in many ways. But I have had to let go of what they did to get to now.
Hey, I've been a complete arse at times too!
Ok, on topic. Did I fear leaving the truth? No. I saw so much hypocrisy in the congregation I moved to as an adult, and had no support (you must honour your husband) with an alcoholic abusive husband, that there was no problem fading.
I didn't fade with the idea of fading, I just couldn't bring myself to attend anymore. Like hitting a bruise, I just couldn't continue to subject myself to it. If it was Jehovah's congregation, it would have been more honest and loving. (Maybe a little more like the one I grew up in, but there was pleanty of BS there, too. I heard it all - my dad was on JC many years.)
The WBTS trained me in many good ways. Going door to door from the time I could walk, I learned to talk to people without fear. Today I can talk openly to anyone, whether I like them or not. The Ministry School taught speaking and teaching skills I've used from a platform before 500 people (in AA) to teaching computer programming and software (no college education here!) to classes of 10-30 people.
A couple of employers have marveled at the way I can treat a corporate president and a street person with equal respect. This I was taught through the JWs.
It takes time to understand what we have been given. I hope ya'll find it.