Hello everyone. Although I have made a couple of one or two sentence comments here on the board before, I still must admit to being a lurker for the most part. I enjoy reading the opinions and viewpoints of all the regulars here, as well as those who like to come in and stir things up a bit, you know, just to keep everyone's brain active. ;)
A big reason I come here is to try to find some justification for the way I feel, that hopefully thoughts and feelings that I have are not exclusively felt by me, but that there are others as well who share my thoughts and feel the same way. I am jealous of all of you that have the freedom to just put all the years of being a part of that organization behind you. I would love to be able to do that, but unfortunately for me, I see that day as being a date sometime in the future for me. Not that I wouldn't want that time to be now, believe me. If you'll permit me, I'd like to explain why it is that I feel that way. And if I stretch this out a lot longer than it could have been, please forgive me.
I was raised a JW by parents who were also raised in "the truth" (I am in my early twenties now), third-generation I guess it is called since both grandparents on both sides of my family were studied with and were baptized before my parents were born. I've never known a life outside of the organization until just a little over a year ago, when I first started opening my eyes.
The very first thing that I had actually started taking note of was the total lack of love from a religion that preaches about love constantly. I always figured it was just something pointed toward me personally, especially since the elder body always made it clear they were not very fond of me, something I thought was attributed to an incident that occurred several years ago that led to my being publicly reproved. But after four years of regular meeting attendance and service activity, I was told I was still not doing enough to warrant reinstatement. I'd seen people be reinstated from being disfellowshipped in less that a year, but here I was going on five years being told I needed to do more, being told "I needed to prove how truly sorry I was for what I had done." Needless to say, my meeting attendance and service activity dropped dramatically after that.
I had already started having certain doubts about different aspects of the religious doctrines that were being spout out like a broken record at every meeting, week after week. When I started researching different sites on the internet and reading anything I could find of Jehovah's Witnesses that actually wasn't written by one of them, things became that much more clearer. It's been five months since I last attended a meeting, and I have to say, I don't even feel as if anyone has even noticed that I'm not there anymore. Oh but I definitely believe that if I were ever to come out publicly about distancing myself from "the friends", all hell would most assuredly break lose.
Here's the breakdown: Because of the size of the town I live in, easily finding a well paying job is extremely difficult, so although I am working I don't make enough to live on my own, so I still live with my parents and my one younger brother. My parents are the shining example of what a good JW couple should be. They never miss a meeting, never miss field service, and talk "Witness-talk" constantly. My brother misses meetings every chance he gets (he's 19), but for him I think it's more of a convenience factor, he'd just rather stay home than get dressed up and go out. So I am under constant bombardment from the parental units to get back on track with meetings and such. On top of that there's my job. The owner of the company is a JW, the managers of all the departments are JW's, my supervisor is a JW, and my fellow employees are JW's. Out of a workforce of 14, only one is not a JW. And I think the only reason she is there is because she's absolutely gorgeous and the boss likes to have some eye candy walking around.
So you see, it's very simple. If I ever came out with how I truly felt, I'd be kicked out of the house (my mother made that clear years ago to me and my brother, if either one of us ever left "the truth") and most likely be fired from my job, with some other "made-up" reason on the dismissal slip. And along with that would go the immediate congregational shunning, and the loss of all of the only friends I've ever known or had. I'd be left with nothing. So since I'd really rather not have that happen right now, I'm forced to keep it all inside, at least for the time being.
I apologize for having rambled on for so long, but this is the first time I've ever actually taken the thoughts from my head and put it all down in writing before. But as I said from the beginning, I really do enjoy reading the comments from all the other posters who frequent this board. Speaking for myself, I'm always able to find encouragement here when it's needed, and realizing I'm not alone always makes me feel better.